Cyclone Haruna’s strong winds and rain changed the land structure and many of the fields and canals were filled with silt, weeds, trees, and branches which needed to be removed. World Renew and CFGB provided every household with a spade, pitch fork, rake, shovel, sickle, as well as 1 wheelbarrow for 5 households to share.
The people are thankful for the food as it gives them the strength needed to do the work required of them. Even in their poverty they showed their thankfulness by presenting us with a chicken. We were very humbled at this thoughtful gesture.
As part of the food-for-work project, each household must send 1 member to work for 10 days each month to clear and dig canals as well as remove the silt from and plant the rice fields. In Sakaraha there are 512 people and in Mahaboboka there are 488 people working at either rice-planting, dike building, or clearing canals. All this work would have been an insurmountable task for an individual household, but working together, in well organized groups, they can accomplish what appeared to be impossible.
The people are organized into groups of ten with a group leader, who is in charge of taking attendance at the work site. Some groups work on the land, and other groups clear the canals, while others build dikes along the river to direct the water flow into the canals.
After the land is de-silted, it is leveled, and water is put onto it to soften the soil. When the water has been on the land for a few days zebus are herded back and forth across the field to break up the soil. If zebus are not available the dirt is broken up by the men with spades.
When the farmer has his land prepared he receives his rice seed and a nursery or seed bed is planted. Once the plants are at the 2 leaf stage they are transplanted into the main part of the fields.
The rice seed that has been provided by World Renew and The Canadian Food Grains Bank is a new variety that provides a higher yield. An agricultural engineer taught the farmers how to plant this rice and how to maintain weed control with special hoes, which were also donated to the people in June. Technical agents supervised the planting and assisted the people in following the method that is new to them.
The organization of the transplanting and the amount of area that the people could plant in a short period of time was impressive. By late August the very first of the rice is expected to be ready for harvest. It is our prayer and that of the people, that there will be sufficient water and that the locusts will be controlled. We are also very thankful for the people’s enthusiasm and their diligent participation in this project.
- Thankful that CFGB is providing special hoes.
- That the beneficiaries have worked well together with numerous rice fields already planted.
- For our good health and safety in travels.
- That there will be sufficient water in the river to share.
- That insects and locusts will not destroy crops.
- That an extension to this project will be granted since the harvest will be later than anticipated.
- That unity will continue and that God may be praised.