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Testimony of Angelica Chauque

26 Jan 2015

Angelica Chauque, a young women painfully rejected by her husband in exchange for another wife in her mid-30s and left to fend for herself with 3 young children is one of the founding members of the Mohambe association. She stays in Chibabel, a neighboring village about 7km from Mohambe. When she heard the announcement from her pastor that there will be bible study groups in a neighbouring village about 4 years ago she responded by joining them every week for more than 8 months. An opportunity for the groups to form an association opened up and that was how she eventually joined the association.

Angelica harvesting her crop of tomatoes

At first she was very reserved and quiet and hardly spoke to anyone. With her timid and underweight body she worked faithfully in her field almost daily, even-though she stayed 7km away. She had no other source of income.

As time went on she improved her production significantly as well as her income from the crops. She was also able to produce enough lettuce and other crops on her private row that she took home to sell for an extra income. This made her an important person in her area who could supply food in times when others did not have any. Slowly she became more and more confident like a snail creeping out of its shell. She started working for a vision to build a house from the income she received that could accommodate her and her 3 kids. Up to now she only has a dilapidated mud-house with grass roof which needs care after each heavy rainfall.

 Angelica showing her joy after one of the sessions last year where she received a significant profit in spite of vegetable prices that were rock bottom

The next thing we heard after she has been working in the association for about a year and a half was that her pastor chose her from all the members of his church to represent him in training sessions he was supposed to attend but due to time pressure could not attend. This served to boost her image even further.

Hard work and sweat equity lays the foundation for a successful association

Today she is an important member of the association that is respected by all the other members as hardworking, dedicated and faithful. The association, with obvious help from Above has helped her to change from a nobody to a somebody with self-respect, dignity and a courage she did not have before.

A portion with 6 rows of drip irrigation belongs to a single member

When her ex-husband saw how she has bloomed into a new person he made strides to take her back but she was decisive and strong and put her foot down. She realised with help from God and from the association she would be able to support her young family better than her husband has ever done before.

The present harvest has boosted her morale even further. So far, of all 90 farmers she is among the best 10 in spite of staying furthest away from the field.

I am always amazed to see the extra and other benefits an agriculture association can have on people’s lives, much deeper than the eye can see.

Each member is responsible to cultivate and care for his/her own area
Each member is responsible to cultivate and care for his/her own area

Associations
Associations visit each other’s areas to share and gain experience

Rows
Each person has a free private row for home consumption and maximises through intercropping

Family and Friends
Family and friends are invited to help during harvest time

Harvest
Harvest time is busy but joyful as seen here in the expansion area of Mohambe

Transparency
Transparency in individual yield promotes healthy competition but also explains why some get a higher profit than others. Each one’s yield is graphed out in Kg. The top graph shows individual loan payback rate.

Piloting
Piloting out different crops and varieties leads to a better profits at the end. Poles are implanted and connected with nylon cords to pilot an indeterminate type of tomato.

Sustainability
Financial sustainability at village level needs sufficient and practical training with gradual handing over of responsibility.


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