As the days slowly begin to get shorter and the nights longer it is the sign that summer is over and we are into autumn; a season where many people begin turning their attention to the next big event of the year, Christmas!
But for farmers all over the world autumn is all about one thing: Harvest!
Harvest is something that has existed ever since humans began reaping what had been sown from the ground. It is the most important time of the year for farmers as what they produce, and then sell, will determine their income for the year ahead. For many Christians harvest is associated with giving and that is because the tradition of giving at harvest time is found in the Bible. The Jews would give a tenth of the harvest to God and traditionally UK farmers would similarly give a tithe of everything that came from the ground. These tithes were often given to help support the local church and its ministers.
The tradition of giving at Harvest helps us to remember that all good gifts come from God.
As farmers all over the world get ready to harvest, I would like to share Stephen’s story with you. Stephen is a farmer from Katuuso in the Wakiso district of Uganda and is a member of the Mukwano development group; a self-help farming group established by Signpost International.
“Before I joined the development group I wasn’t earning enough money to sustain my family. When we came to harvest I produced very little crops which resulted in very little money. This meant I would always fail to raise the full amount for school fees so our children were sent home in the middle of the term until we had paid the full amount. This used to hurt me a lot because they would miss out on teaching and were performing poorly in their examinations. I was frustrated with my situation and I resorted to spending what little money we had drinking alcohol to relieve myself of all the stress. But this just caused more problems.”
“I felt like a failure in life and a disappointment to my family, life was hard.”
“I was then given the opportunity to join a development group and my life changed for the better. Through my group I have been able to learn a lot that has transformed my life. Everyone in the group was given a loan and with the money I was given I bought one piglet, a goat, and I also bought seeds, beans and banana plants.”
“Our group received training on agriculture, savings, record keeping, and finance management which have helped me in my farming business. I have learnt these new skills and our harvest is now bountiful. It means I am earning enough that my children now go to the best school in the village and I can pay their school fees on time.”
“We are now leading a comfortable and happy life.”
As a result of joining the development group Stephen will be reaping a plentiful harvest this year. However, there are many whose harvests will not be as bountiful. Stephen says, “There are still other members within the community that wish to join the Signpost programme but do not have a chance to. If possible, we would like to see more community members organised into development groups to improve their conditions of living.”
By giving this harvest and supporting the work of Signpost International you could help a
Ugandan farmer’s harvest be very different next year.
Thank you for your continued support.