Ebola Widows Embrace Training with Passion
May 12, 2016
In early March, we had an overwhelmingly successful trip to Lunsar, where we conducted two-day trainings in two different villages near Lunsar – Kerefe and Lungi Lol. Pastors, headmasters and other community leaders representing more than 30 churches and schools attended the trainings, and it was a blessing to see them fully engage. Their level of inspiration from the training was apparent in their questions, their smiles, their body language, even their challenges to our lessons.
But what has been the best proof of all that we are onto something together in Lunsar is what has happened since we left.
Less than two months later, we are astounded to report that those two plots have become 30 – and growing – as pastors have passed along the training to their church members. One of these churches – Petefu Bron – includes a large number of Ebola widows. Culturally speaking, widows in Sierra Leone typically must choose between their children and a new husband, so many women never marry again when their husbands die. In one church, a number of these women worship together under the guidance of Pastor Joseph Koroma, and even before we left Sierra Leone, Pastor Koroma had already started training these women in sustainable conservation agriculture. This church alone now has 15 plots! Pastor Koroma knows that without husbands, these women and their children are in special need of increased food and income, and they have embraced these techniques with a fervor we haven’t seen before. Their crops include corn, okra, cucumbers and beans – and even as this article is being written, it is likely they are adding other crops and plots to their farm.
With more than enough food to satisfy their families’ nutritional needs, these plots will give the women an opportunity to earn an income at the many markets in the area – from the small weekly market in their village, where they can sell as well as barter for things they need – to the larger regional market in Makeni, where they can make good income by selling fresh produce and dried seeds.
We are grateful to God to see these techniques so readily adopted, and thankful to see what has happened in our absence – reassurance indeed that these remarkable people can and will be empowered by new knowledge to create a better and more stable future for themselves and their families.