Not enough to go round
In 1987 Katebire Silver was faced with a difficult decision. After growing up in Kabale, surrounded by his family, he realised his home was not a place in which he could build his future. The land he had grown up on was due to be divided amongst his relatives, but there was not enough to sustain everyone.
Katebire felt his only choice was to leave the area and move to Isingiro District, almost 60 miles away. It was a land known for being hilly and without water.
It turned out to be the right decision for Katebire. He soon found happiness. The land was very beautiful and he could grow enough food to feed his family.
A CHURCH AND A FAMILY
Over time more and more people like him settled nearby and soon the area was almost as well populated as Kabale had been when Katebire had left. In 2001 a Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) church began ministering in the area, and within 5 years they’d started running a PEP program.
By this time Katebire was a Pastor with an expanding family, and had been looking for new, sustainable ways to provide for them. The program was exactly the kind of thing that Katebire had been looking for, and he became one of the first Assembly pastors to enrol as a PEP ‘disciple’. It was a role that would teach Katebire the skills to mobilise both his own, and his community's resources.
In 2008 the PEP disciples from Katebire’s area visited Soroti, where PAG had been running PEP for many years:
This opened up my thinking about how I could best use my small plot of land. Isingiro district, like many other part of Uganda, had seen banana plantations affected by a bacteria that was causing wilt. It left us without the produce which we depended on for our income. Then, in Soroti, I saw a farmer who was using a small piece of land to earn great amounts - all thanks to oranges.
A FRUITFUL ENTERPRISE
When Katebire returned home he visited a local nursery that sold oranges. They supplied him with 250 seedlings. With each seedling sold at a cost of 3000 shillings Katebire was forced to sell off part of his land to raise enough money for the new venture. It was an expensive and long term investment, but something PEP had given him the confidence to believe was worthwhile.
Of the 250 seedlings that Katebire planted on his land, 80 percent made it to maturity. Katebire’s first harvest in 2016 was not considered ‘good’, yet he managed to collect 200 bags of oranges, each worth 150,000 shillings. He had gained back forty times the amount he had invested.
Orange trees have sustained my family and I - and they have enabled me to attend PEP trainings and seminars without financial constraint. This means so much, as it allows me to share the skills I have learnt to help bring transformation for my community.
MAKING THE MOST OF EVERYTHING
The work has not stopped there! Part of Katebire’s land is so rocky that no one wanted it. So on it he grows an acre of trees for timber poles which he sells to the local construction industry. He then uses the off cuts as firewood.
On another part of his land a team came to scout for minerals.
As PEP opens our eyes to how we can use our locally available resources to glorify God, I think God opened a door for me in the rocky part of my land.
They discovered that Katebire’s land is rich in tin deposits, so he now rents it out to a team to mine the minerals.
Katebire and his church have even found a use for the leftover stone from the tin mining. They used some of it to lay the foundations of a permanent church building. They are selling the rest as building materials, with profits going to the church. They are using these funds to buy cement, sand and bricks to complete project building the church.
- Thank God for PEP disciples like Kategire as they facilitate PEP and support others in their communities.
- For the ongoing process in Pastorates across South West Uganda, that it will continue to equip and empower.
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