Coffee farmers tasting their own coffee

14th of March, Mutambu, Burundi

We are happy and grateful, because we have really been able to make strides in recent weeks. And that feels pretty good to us as real Dutchmen. We have officially started selling oil and can say with gratitude that we have already sold half of the first 100 bottles. Especially in the expatriate/richer Burundian circles many people were enthusiastic. We will get more bottles next week and then we will visit some stores to see if our oil can be there, so we can reach more people with the news that we are selling our oil.

"Tasting" days were also organized from the coffee company. This is done once a year so that farmers can come and taste their own coffee. Coffee is currently only exported and besides, coffee is too expensive for most of the population. It was very nice to see that most of the coffee farmers are not mega fans of their product either. But luckily sugar makes up for a lot and they liked it a lot better with sugar. In the end, what matters most is that the farmers feel involved and feel seen as a person and that they are not just a number where coffee berries come from. With the coffee, everyone got a dondo; a local snack (similar to a kind of oliebol). This was fun and at the same time very confrontational, as some tried to pretend they hadn't already and go for a second one. This also goes to show that unfortunately the farmers' income is still not always enough and there really is still the urge to always get some more food or other things. This is another good realization of why we are doing the essential oils: to help the farmers get an extra source of income.

After six months of quite a bit of suspicion and doubt, the switch seems to have been turned by the farmers.We organized a distribution day of the small essential oil crops (lemongrass and patchouli) where farmers could pick them up for free to plant on their land.The purchase price for Patchouli is higher because it is harder to grow and you have less crop per year compared to lemongrass, but you guessed it: everyone wanted patchouli.This was another realization moment of how we learn in school not to go purely on the money, but also to take into account everything that is involved, and the farmers here think: this is per kilo more so sure I would rather have Patchouli.A bit of a "what's heavier a kilo of feathers or a kilo of sand" story.But anyway, they were enthusiastic and there is finally trust!In addition, we (especially Jochem, but Laura certainly did her part too) have also been busy turning over the land.From the theory of Farming God's way and several other studies, crops grow better if you change them every few years.This, in fact, makes for more fertile soil.In addition, the Artemisia on the land was hugely overgrown and the lemongrass had to be transplanted because of the decline in oil after 5 years, so this was and still is a nice job. And more land was available so essential oil crops were planned there too. All in all, good hopes for more production in a few months.

Planting Artemesia, Patchouli and marigold

Filling bags for new seedlings

Handing out patchouli

So all in all, we are extremely happy looking back on the first (almost) 2 months in Burundi and looking forward expectantly to the months ahead. And oh yes, nice news: Laura managed to defend her Burundi women's padel title.Although Jochem was also very close to a victory in the men's this time, but unfortunately defeated in the final.

We need your prayer to make God’s glory known through the work we are doing. Do you want to pray for the following points?

Prayer points

  • For further development at Migoti and the oppertunity for us to be a blessing to the local staff and the farmers.
  • For a new qualified employee for the essential oil company.
  • That we live through Gods power and listen to his voice during the relations that we have and the work we are doing.
  • A Blessing for Burundi, the people and the goverment. 
  • For opportunities to share the gospel with people around us.
  • A blessing on continuing to build the essential oil business.
  • A blessing over the new crops on our land and on that of the farmers.

Thanking points

  • For building and maintaining relationships.
  • For the personal development that we went through the past year. 
  • For a place that feels like 'home' in Burundi.
  • For everybodies financial and emotional support.
  • For the work that we are able to do on Migoti.
  • For the development of trust of the farmers in relation to the essential oils.