08 July 2016
|“Having knowledge and not to share it; is wrong. Let all of us who gain knowledge through JRS-JC:HEM prove to the world that our work must be known. I believe that our ideas and knowledge, inspired by what we learnt in our courses in Sustainable Agriculture and Community Nutrition can change not only refugees and Malawians, but the entire world.”|
Dzaleka, 7 July 2016 - Anderson Mulumeoderhwa, from Bukavu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) left his country on the 3rdof January 2015 because he reported a matter about a woman who was raped. He then became the target of persecution, because he chose to speak out. Today he is living as a refugee in Dzaleka Refugee Camp. “The work of my hands can be seen by everyone. I want to teach and give knowledge and skills to refugees around the world with what I learnt through Jesuit Refugee Service and Jesuit Commons: High Education at the Margins (JRS-JC:HEM).” says Anderson.
In November 2015, Anderson applied to study the Sustainable Agriculture and Community Nutrition course, through the JRS-JC:HEM Community Service Learning Tracks (CSLTs). Today he is applying these very same skills he learnt through the CSLT. Now he is applying intercropping – the mixing of crops -, irrigation, steps for soil improvement such as organic manure to improve soil fertility, preparing land and soil for planting by making beds in the garden, pit beds, ridging the soil, mulch to cover the soil with grass for water retention, composting and the use of pest repelling herbs and plants.
Anderson has planted his crops amongst trees and shrubs in the garden, ensuring that when the trees shed their foliage, those fallen leaves automatically become green manure and improve soil fertility and plant propagation in the garden. This system has improved seed germination.
Anderson speaks about the different crops he has been able to cultivate using environmentally friendly and organic methods that do not only minimise his costs, but ensures the growth of healthy crops: “Through all this knowledge and skills gained in this CSLT, I can grow different vegetables like spinach, leek, green peas, celery, carrots, tomatoes, maize, green pepper, amaranth, onions and eggplants, all this without chemical fertilizer.”
“This course has guaranteed food security in my family, because since I started growing these crops, I have never had to buy vegetables in the market. Also, the money that I gain after selling some vegetables, helps me to provide for some of the needs in my family.” Anderson says.
As to those he supplies and how they feel about the quality of the produce Anderson grows, he has this to say: “Those who are selling vegetables at the market, who order it from me as their supplier, have confidence because it is natural, I do not use chemical fertilisers. I do all this because of the knowledge that I gain through JRS-JC:HEM in the Sustainable Agriculture and community Nutrition CSLT.”
“That is why if my fellow refugees and others should learn these farming techniques that I have learnt through JRS-JC:HEM CSLT, especially here in Malawi, where 92 percent of farmers use chemical fertiliser on their land, but using organic matter will bring big success.” he added.
Further he adds: “Having knowledge and not to share it; is wrong. Let all of us who gain knowledge through JRS-JC:HEM prove to the world that our work must be known. I believe that our ideas and knowledge, inspired by what we learnt in our courses in Sustainable Agriculture and Community Nutrition can change not only refugees and Malawians, but the entire world.”
Story by: Robert Kabale Mbanda, Hugo Hivanove Mpenzi and Joseph Kabila Bahulule/Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi
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