Our Agwata beaders’ group began training its five oxen teams in early May this year. Each of their five work clusters received a donation of an ox team and plow from a supporting church in Massachusetts. Each cluster of about 18 women each plan to plow additional acreage on which to grow more cash crops to sustain themselves and their families.
Ox teams will be very useful because the clusters have many acres of land that can be plowed. This land has not been tilled during the preceding 20 years due to the internal war with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that ended in late 2006. Now, the women are faced with fertile land which has been overgrown with many trees, shrubs and other undergrowth which must be cleared away. Each cluster also identified an older youth from their cluster that could help train the oxen, and who could eventually also help them in the garden. The photos show the first day of training for the oxen.
From the time they came out of the satellite IDP camps in mid-2009, they were very food deprived. They spent the next year and a half clearing land by hand hoeing just so they could grow enough food for their families. Approximately 3 to 4 acres per family was needed for this. But now they are excited to begin the process of earning income for themselves and their families by growing cash crops such as sim sim (sesame seeds), grounds nuts (similar to peanuts), beans, onions and more.