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If Gloves Could Talk

Awhile back we realized that we had a huge church property sitting mostly empty with just a small grass shack which serves as our church building. Why not plant the rest of the property with millet which, when harvested we can give to the poor. But, if we're decided if we are going to do it, we might as well do it properly. That means we needed to dig zai holes....a method of planting used in arid areas for increasing crop yield. Well, Jeremy ran with the idea. He has completely worn out the leather gloves you see here. These gloves enabled Jeremy to do a huge amount of back-breaking work.

First, he dug a 5-foot deep hole behind our store room. Then he and John went out and collected millet chaff and manure which they dumped into the hole and watered faithfully to make compost. Then he spent all morning most mornings of the week digging holes in the ground about 1.5 feet deep. Into these holes is dumped some of the compost. Then you let the wind blow the sand back into the holes, covering the compost. You can't plant the seed directly on the compost or it burns the seedling. Jeremy regularly dug about 45 holes a day. I guess that's approximately 9 holes an hour if he worked 4 hours a day. I went out a couple of times to "help" and I could only get up to 5 an hour! Of course, he's half my age so he should have been able to do more than me!

Any way, this is a tribute to Jeremy and all his hard work. He chose this as his project and he single-handedly dug at least 1/3 of the field himself. He had occasional help from people like me and his friends. The Sahel Academy team helped too....more about that on a later post. The exciting thing about all this work Jeremy has done is that his work will be good for three years. These holes do not need to be redug again for another three years. Amazing! Thanks, Jeremy!

For a slightly different viewpoint of zai holes, see Jeremy's and John's blogs: and