I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. The roll of flattened tubing was heavy, and uncooperative as I tried awkwardly to unroll it. My hands were already filthy, so I gingerly used my inner elbow to hold back the sweat already dripping from my brow. I began to hum an indistinguishable tune, finding my rhythm as volunteer farmhand-for-the-day in the northern region of Mozambique.
I had eagerly agreed to help install a basic irrigation system on land owned by Iris Ministries just outside the city. This system would coax thirsty tomatoes into hearty plants during the dry season. On the truck ride over, I learned of the incredible value that viable farmland adds to an impoverished community. Besides the obvious job creation and food production, local farms contribute much-needed nutrition and add to the overall economic sustainability of an area.
The farm itself was gorgeous (and somewhat reminiscent of my time at Capitol Reef in the Fruita district.) Picturesque trees dotted the landscapes, interspersed between plots for carrots, eggplant, onions, and other veggies. I was told that the mango trees absolutely droop with delicious-tasting fruit when in-season.
I unrolled tubing. I measured. I marked. I cut. I turned. I fastened. I twisted. I straightened.
With a hard-working team, the installation process moved along fluently. My hands relished the opportunity to touch the African soil; my eyes regularly peeked upwards, paying homage to the lazy clouds in the sky.
When the system was successfully completed, we celebrated the outcome with some carrots pulled fresh from the soil. They were delicious (and organic). I walked to the edge of the property and peered into the marshy creek edge, searching for the crocodiles that I was told regularly lurk there. I didn’t see any.
Two years ago, while I traveled around the country in a teardrop trailer, I never imagined I would one day spend time on an African farmstead. It makes me excited to realize how far I’ve come, how much I’ve done, and how many more things I have yet to see!