International Ministries

microDevru = "Dream Home"

November 23, 2009 Journal
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Dear Friends,

We are approaching the time of year when we all take stock of the Lord’s blessings in our lives. I want to tell you of one person who is very thankful for YOUR help enabling him to build his “dream home”.


Meet Mr. Ubarahuma, a member of an association of farmers we have worked with in our “microDevru” agriculture project.  Look at the first photo.  Here he is sitting proudly in front of his dream home.  Impressed?


Now look at the next picture up above.  Here is another view of the new Ubarahuma home complete with tin roof, white washed walls, and fancy black trim.  Not impressed?


In the third photo you can see that Mr. Ubarahuma (with his children) is showing off that he not only was able to build his dream home this year, but was also able to furnish it with upholstered chairs and a fancy side board.  He purchased all of this with the proceeds from sales of microDevru improved cassava and cowpea seed.  Still not impressed?


Now look at the final photo.  Mr. Ubarahuma now shows the house he and his family lived in prior to building their dream home.  OK, now you are impressed.

So what happened?  Mr. Ubarahuma is an “early adopter,” someone willing to take risks and try new things while everyone else holds back and watches to see how he does.  In our development projects we depend on community early adopters to introduce new ideas and crops.

Poor small holder farmers have seen so many things go wrong that they stick closely to traditions that have worked best in the past.  In some cases skeptical villagers have required our extension agents to cook and eat before them the new varieties of cassava or beans that we are trying to promote.  Other times rumors have spread that our new varieties cause diabetes or cancer.  Helping folks is not just a case of showing up with a new great idea.

In microDevru we are fighting hunger, poverty, and under-nutrition with high yielding, high protein beans, disease resistant cassava varieties, high yielding peanuts and soil building green manures.  Without early adopters, introducing all these new ideas would be a real challenge.  Our extension agents show up in a village to talk about the new varieties and seek collaborators on a demonstration garden.  Preparing a couple acres of land by hand is quite an undertaking but early adopters are willing to take risk.  At harvest time we split the yield, half for the folks who worked with us, and half we use on other demonstration fields. 

Invariably most of the village is impressed by the harvest and want to try the new varieties themselves (but there are always the hold-outs sticking with the old ways).  The early adopters thus have a monopoly on seed high in demand they do very well on the risk they took working with us. They also have a year head start on everyone else selling to the growing demand in the region.  So our early adopter partners are a blessing to everyone and we are grateful for them.

Early adopters like Mr. Ubarahuma are grateful for YOU who support us and made it possible for us to be here to develop and manage projects like microDevru.  In this time of Thanksgiving, know that the blessings you have received and passed on to us has resulted in harvests multiplied a thousand fold in gratitude to our Lord.  We thank you, and our Congolese early adopters thank you, and even the hold-outs, eventually, will thank you.

Wayne & Katherine Niles
November 2009