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From maize to praise: seeds, songs and solutions

The story of how a small farming community in Zimbabwe pulled together to sow seeds – not only in soil, but in people’s souls.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 16 Apr 2021

Credit: Joran Quinten/Unsplash

Hunger is a longing for that which nourishes and fills. To the belly, that may be bread, but to Norma’s spirit, it was the music of praise and worship. Her life was changed because of what she encountered in the soul-filling music – so much so that she wanted to share it with her community.

‘I was drawn to church when I heard them playing music,’ says Norma Muhuwa, from Zimbabwe. ‘It was then l decided to give my life to the Lord! It was praise and worship that made me make that decision.’

For many African communities, worship and songs are an integral part of life – a communication tool that can share guidance and speak about serious social issues. Across the continent, for example, songs have been used to reach people with crucial information about the pandemic and how to stay safe from it.

For Norma, who is now a member of the praise and worship team in her church, it carried the message of Jesus – a message of good news that she isn’t content to keep to herself.

‘To bring more souls into the kingdom, we need to own a PA system, as I am an example of what music can do to draw people to church,’ says Norma.

Planting seeds

But Norma is from a small farming community in Zimbabwe where people are entirely dependent on agriculture in order to survive. Many in the country have been facing economic hardship already and the erratic rains, cyclical droughts and flash floods in the region over recent years because of climate changes, have meant that crops have been failing.

Roughly the equivalent of £1,100 to buy a PA system for the church might have seemed out of reach in a place where money is so tight, but the people in Norma’s community had a goal and they were determined.

Norma’s church is Tearfund’s local partner in the area. Through them, community members had been receiving training on identifying and using the things available to them to transform their own situations. Inspired and encouraged by this training, the church members pulled together to make a plan to pay for a PA system.

One congregation member, Phlyis Mushakwe, donated a piece of her field, and then each church member contributed whatever seeds and fertilisers they could.

A new season

At the same time, an initiative originally set up by a Tearfund partner, and then adopted nationally by the government, was helping the community get better farming results.

Named with the Shona word Pfumvudza – roughly translated as ‘new season’ – it’s what is often referred to as Conservation Agriculture. It encourages simple, sustainable changes in things like how to prepare fields for planting and harvesting and make the soil able to retain more moisture. The goal is a better crop yield for small-scale farmers, making sure every family is able to feed themselves.

A good harvest

Using all of this new information, the church members are on track to harvest a maize crop which will almost cover the cost of the PA system they hope for.

Church Pastor Kenneth Makwenda says he feels that this is a shining example of an empowered community and of the power of coming together to use local resources to transform lives.

‘What is amazing is that this community came together,’ says Pastor Kenneth, ‘...and is on track for success.’

Please pray

Almighty God,

Thank you for the dreams, hopes and visions that are becoming reality through Norma’s community learning to work together. Please will you bless their community and give them an excellent harvest. We ask that you will give farmers all over Zimbabwe the tools, training and ability to feed their families.


Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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