Hero Spotlight: Alfred “Africa” Mattia, Overcoming Obstacles and Reaping Rewards
February 14, 2017
Alfred Mattia, known in his community as “Africa,” is Bauya’s official Town Crier, spreading important community news from household to household. To supplement his income, he farms – and has been one of the most passionate and engaged learners we have come across at Just Hope.
“Africa” lives with a deformed arm and leg that make physical activity and tending to crops a challenge. After attending a number of our trainings, and with the encouragement of Jenneh and Joe, he planted two 6×6-meter maize plots in his yard using the new methods he learned. His efforts paid off in more ways than one and yielded a harvest four times that of his neighbors, who planted using traditional methods. What he didn’t keep for consumption, he sold on the fresh market, earning a nice profit.
The farming methods Just Hope teaches are especially well suited for people with physical challenges, because they allow the farmer to get a higher yield from a smaller piece of land. All physical labor is reduced – from watering soil that doesn’t dry out as quickly due to mulching, to maintaining a plot that is significantly smaller, which simplifies soil preparation and weeding. Harvesting is easier as well, because the farmer doesn’t have to take as many steps.
Alfred’s plots are fallow now, covered in mulch and awaiting the end of the dry season, when he will plant beans. We are especially delighted with him, for using his own strength, gumption and resourcefulness to improve his life!