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We Met: Martin #TFBloggers

Martin is somewhere in this crowd - it was too dark to capture him individually
Martin is somewhere in this crowd – it was too dark to capture him individually

Martin started his story at the age of 16, when he was an orphan, and was used to sell his labour out to quarry stones. He would help others on their land with Oxen, and then be able to use the Oxen on his own land in return. He got married as the PEP scheme started.

He was wary of another scheme where names were collected, as these were often followed by requests to ‘pay up’. He noticed that those who have been in the camps still have an NGO mindset – awaiting handouts. He now has land for trees, which he can also use for timber. With 3 children, he’s now able to put them all into paying education. 

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We Met: Margaret #TFBloggers

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Before PEP, many in the village were expectant that the Pastor could be lent upon for help, many didn’t know how to do things for themselves, and her husband was not able to provide for the family.

Margarent looked at the resources that she had – realized that she had a tree from which she was able to produce oil, and then grew cassava for flour, and therefore produces bread.

Where they lived didn’t have good sanitation, so the kids got sick, and any money she was making was going on medication, and they were back to no money. She undertook a range of lessons at PEP, and took those back to her husband to discuss with him, and they started to find new ways to a small business, and self-sufficiency.

Margaret took us to visit her bakery, and gave us some bread to try… quite hard, looks quite like cornmeal, but tastes OK.

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We Met: Abdul #TFBloggers

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Abdul is a Muslim, one of the leaders in the PEP process. Joseph (our driver) had challenged him through some role play – a common tool used as part of the PEP process.

His parents had chosen his wife, whom he divorced from in the middle of the LRA insurgency, so he decided to join the army – but this was not well paid – he needed money for himself, his mother, and the children he’d had with his wife. He still desired another wife so he left Aruiw… starting with 3 bags of peanuts, he managed to turn them into 9 bags of peanuts (not entirely sure when this was).

When he met the woman who was to be his new wife, he had to be open that he had another family to support, and not enough for a dowry – not even an egg, but promised that if they got married, they would work together to solve things. The father had a plan to sell his animals to buy a plot, so he agreed to purchase two of the cows, with a further one from a government programme, whilst he lived with the in-laws-to-be. Some of the family weren’t happy with this, but they managed like this for 3 months.

At this time he came to a PEP meeting, and started to think how can he make more use of what he has, cleared his land including pasture for a goat. He is now married and saved enough to send his wife to tailoring school, so she can contribute more to family income. He wants to make a house, and plans to use the anthills to make bricks.

He has been elected chairman of the PTA, is choosing to live by example, and also works with the reconciliation committee – formerly he couldn’t work with Christians who were fearful of Muslims – but they have emphasized that this is not about religion, it’s about development.

Abdul continues to seek transformation, he now has more than one (ripped) shirt, has no need to walk as much, although he has suffered persecution from other Muslims who don’t understand the work he is doing, but he has sought to share with them verses from the Koran which focus on unity. 

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Life(style)

We Met: Dolphina #TFBloggers

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Last one for today… Dolphina is Pastor Gideon’s wife. She says her life has changed greatly as before PEP she was looking after 10 children single-handedly, and there were always food shortages.

PEP asked the participants to undertake an exercise in which people took one step at a time, and were ask to look what was possible – in small steps. She went back home – saw that they had land, strength and good health, so she got to work, as she wanted to get the children into school

She said it’s now easy to educate the children, as hard work has paid off.

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Life(style)

We Met: Gideon #TFBloggers

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Gideon is the Senior Pastor in the area … and as with many pastors, this is a voluntary role, so he still needs to farm in order to survive and provide. He started by saying that he used to judge the other church leaders, as he expected them to help him. 

Before the PEP process, along with his wife, he had to hand-till the land. With knowledge from the process, and persistence, he was able to buy chickens, then goats, then cows, and now Oxen. Around his home, the land is bushy, so he started to clear this and planted – he now has over 120 cypress trees, and some are now fruiting and ready to pick.  He expects each tree should fill on average 100kg bag – and as the trees get older, are likely to produce up to 3 bags per tree (oranges, in case you want specifics).

Gideon has learnt to balance money better, and to save, especially for schooling. Also on his land, he grows onions, which he will transplant when the rains come. He expects to produce around 10 bags (100kg) at around 4000UGS per kilo.

As a church they are still working together on the building, but also want another nursery and vocational schools. There are a large number in the churches, visitors “are most welcome”, and there are a large number of evangelism programmes – with 45 new Christians joining the church recently.