Tilling the soil can solve it all
Coming back from school, tired and hungry, the only picture I had in mind was that of my lunch prepared and saved by mum. From a distance, I saw an unidentified car parked in front of our house. Many thoughts came to my mind. Could it be an uncle or auntie who has come to pay us a visit? I thought of the kind of parcels I was going to receive from our visitor. I was forced to increase my footsteps so I can get home earlier.
As I entered the house, I saw dad and mum in the sitting room looking at each other and no one saying something. It seemed mum did not notice my presence to ask me how my day has been. That was strange!
Few hours later, my eldest sister came back from school too, and mum thought it wise to shear her feelings with her. Dad had just lost his job and they both were thinking of how live was going to be difficult without the usual salary. Mum like many African women was a house wife whose job was limited around the house. But now, things had to take a new twist. Feeding, health care, clothing and the need to peruse a good education were still our parent’s priorities.
What was going to be the way forward? We were all transferred to government schools since it had moderate fees. The car that was parked outside was the only resource that was given to dad at the time of his dismissal. We all had to join our parents to make ends meet. Dad turned his car into a public transport and mum picked her hoe to the farm and we join her every weekends and public holidays.
My elders due to peer pressure really did not like going to the farm as they regarded it as suffering. I became mum’s main companion as she encouraged me to support her in the farm. Despite my age, mum knew the kind of job she could ask me to do. Saturdays were our best selling days because most workers bought and prepared food items for the next week.
Nevertheless, in today’s society, a good number of youths in such situation will takefarming as the last option. Prostitution and rubbery may become the other of the day. This is because some parents due to their inability to take proper care of the children are force to stay quite even when they see their children going astray. The children become sole decision makers in their life with little or no consent from elders.
I grew and saw farming as a necessity and not as punishment. As the years went by, I graduated from one farming step to the other. I developed a love for agriculture though in a small scale. In every farm, a particular portion was allocated for me. I learn to clear, mulch, plant, weed, harvest and prepare food items from our farms for the rest of the family to feed on.
If I was asked then to describe my role, nothing would have come to my mine apart of the fact that I was helping my mum. Today, I can now realize the importance of the farm work I did ignorantly with no other expectation than a good yield.
Thanks to this skill I acquired, though not in a formal classroom setting, I was selected and trained under the Creating Opportunities for Rural Youths (CORY) project, where I acted amongst others as support facilitator to train a total of 76youths within the North West region of Cameroon into farm and nonfarm businesses. This was an interesting exercise I did with little or no stress as I had a lot of experience in this domain. Throughout this training, I learned and exchange different ideas with others which is enabling me to get better yields.
Today, despite my busy schedule, I still find time to go to the farm, even if not for market purpose. Most of the food we consume comes from the farm. I cultivate in the wed lands during the dry season and in the dry lands during the raining season. This enables my home to have variety of food stuff in all seasons.
My dream is to empower youths within my community to be able to overcome the challenges they face on their path, by using their challenges as opportunities as they strive towards success.