Denise excitedly runs home after going to the market, eager to tell her husband about a new initiative by the local church.
Recently, her village in the Democratic Republic of Congo had been hit by a terrible crop disease that ravished their bananas and cassavas. That, and rebel groups made this year a particularly difficult one.
But always an eager to try new ideas, Denise ran with excitement. Once she caught her breath she began talking, “the church has found a cure for the disease, and they want to train us how to stop the spread…for free!”
Her husband, Fikiri, was skeptical. His trust in outsiders was low since the organization from the previous year had misled the village and taken so much from his family. Nothing was free, and even though his wife didn’t see it, he knew there must be an alternative motive to this ‘free’ gift.
As a way of protecting his family, Fikiri agreed with Denise to use half the land to implement this new method. This ensured that the family would at least have some untouchable crop when the church asked for payback at harvest.
So Denise faithfully attended the free agriculture training and sure enough, was able to eliminate the diseased crops.
“My husband was so hesitant to receive help from others after our experience the previous year. I began to pray that he would learn to trust the church community.”
At harvest time something miraculous happened, “for days I put aside some crop for when the church came by to collect our debts, but they never came,” Fikiri continued, “at first I was confused why this was, but my wife was right, this church only wanted to love and to help us.”
Today, with the guidance and support of the church the family is growing not only disease-free bananas but has also expanded to grow cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, maize, and potatoes. Denise has become a leader in her community, and every day is she working to share her knowledge and skills with the people in her village.