In many ways Mandi and I are idealists, but we are also are very aware that we are pieces of grander puzzle. And when I say puzzle, I do not mean one of these 30-piece "easy peasy" puzzles that you conquer while waiting around at the dentist. I am talking a 1,000-piece, call your cousins to help, type of puzzle. Whether you work in missions, agriculture extension, teaching, or parenting, sound advice and sage wisdom are invaluable.
One person who exemplifies this truth is a Swazi sugar cane grower named Jeff. Jeff is a large-scale producer who knows how to grow crops and earn an income. I can study how to grow crops and work with innovative researchers and farmers, but knowledge of the local landscape cannot be understated.
While previously in Swaziland, Jeff visited the farm at New Life Homes shortly after we installed drip tape in a field of newly-planted tomatoes. He offered his time and advice to ensure the crop successfully made it to market. It is my hope and prayer that we can mobilize more farmers like Jeff who are willing to mentor and teach new farmers.
People like Jeff are the edge pieces of the puzzle. If you identify them as assets, and start putting them into place early on, everything falls together a little easier. It's like making a 1,000-piecer seem like, well, a 500-piecer (this stuff is still not easy)!