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'I want to be like the crazy lady'

By Peter Shaw | 05 Mar 2020

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we tell the story of a remarkable woman who trusted herself when all around people doubted her…

Aksa’s neighbours thought she had gone mad. Her elderly husband was no longer able to work with her to farm maize. And when Aksa’s sister became ill, she had to provide for her family as well as her own children.

That’s why Aksa, who lives in a poor rural village in Tanzania, decided to learn to farm in a different way.

Instead of digging up the soil in rows, she dug out small holes a set distance apart and filled them with ash and animal droppings – rather than using chemical fertilizers.

Then, she covered the planted seeds with leaves to keep them moist, just as she'd been taught by Tearfund’s partner, the Anglican Diocese of Mpwapwa. They’re helping people like Aksa to farm in a more effective way, a process they call ‘Farming God’s Way’.

People thought she had lost it. She became known as ‘the crazy lady’. But when Aksa’s maize crops started to grow higher than her neighbour’s they were amazed. Others were envious…

Thief in the night
In fact, Aksa noticed that some of her crops were going missing overnight. She gave some of her excess maize to neighbours and asked them to pray for her to catch the thief.

Aksa remembers the next night well. It was Good Friday. Hiding nearby in her field, she spotted the thief. She chased down the man and caught him. He started acting like a child, pleading with her.

Aksa took him back to his home to explain himself to his wife. She was speechless. So Aksa took the man to the local government office and told them how he had been caught stealing her maize. But Aksa asked them not to take any action as she had decided to forgive him.

You don’t have to be mad… but it helps
Aksa thanked her neighbours for praying for her to find the thief. ‘God showed me who was taking my maize,’ she says. No one has dared to take maize from Aksa ever since. Instead, many of her neighbours have decided to learn to farm like Aksa. ‘They told me they want to be crazy like me,’ she says.

This Sunday, 8 March, is International Women’s Day where we can celebrate the achievements and determination of women like Aksa.


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Written by Peter Shaw

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