On January 6, 2015 Roger Blomquist, from St Paul and representing the St Paul Synod and Bega Kwa Bega, and representatives from the Institute of Agriculture in Iringa Tanzania visited Mlowa. Following are excerpts from the journal entries Roger made at the visit and passed on to us. The full journal entry can be found on the CV Missions bulletin board.
It rained pretty hard during the night and was still raining this morning when we drove to Mlowa to deliver sesame seed and conduct training for the villagers about growing sesame. There was water in the ditches and we did a little slipping and sliding on the way.
We started out with tea in the pastor’s house. They have a new pastor at Mlowa. Pastor Godamu Mhosole was transferred to Mlowa from Itonya one month ago. His wife’s name is Vumilia and they have four children, the oldest a boy is in Form 3, the second a girl is in Std 7, third is a boy in Std 3, and the youngest a boy is in nursery school. They seem like a very nice couple and he was enthused about our visit. I was able to get he and his wife to pose for a picture after the meeting.
This is the planting time for sesame so the villagers were pleased that we were there to teach them. Sesame needs to be planted in wet soil, after the rains have started to that the seed can germinate.
Villagers were commenting on the amount of rain they received last night, but the pastor said this was little compared to Itonya. There are 11 preaching points in the Mlowa Parish. Most people in the main parish cultivate crops, while people in the preaching points are Maasai and keep cattle.
Don Fehr related the story of a farmer who grew sesame that first year and sold his crop for 15,000,000 tsh. Last year an evangelist grew sesame and made enough to purchase a power tiller.
There were about 15 people (5 male and 10 female) at the meeting. Farmers who live in Mlowa have their farms some distance away. The practice is to go to their farms on Monday and stay there all week returning on the weekend to see family and go to church. We have heard this description on previous visits to Mlowa.
After extending greetings from SPAS and Christus Victor, their companion congregation, Venance made the presentation, half of the people in attendance had grown sesame before. They appreciated the training, since they have had none previously. They used to scatter the seed behind the plow and didn’t use fertilizer. They see their challenges as education, which has been addressed today, and marketing which they will have to work on.
They wanted to especially thank Christus Victor for their support of scholarships and other projects. They are gathering letters from students who received the scholarships. When I told them I was going to communicate with Christus Victor about the meeting today they were very pleased.