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Oct16ThuCaptain Heather Matondo reflects on her visit with farmers and food projects in Africa October 16, 2014
Earlier this year, Captain Heather Matondo travelled to the African countries of Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso on a food study tour with Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of Canadian churches and church-based agencies—including The Salvation Army—working to end global hunger.
- Filed Under:
- World Missions
Canadian Foodgrains Bank provides emergency food relief in times of famine, drought or conflict. But most cases of hunger in the developing world are not a result of an emergency. Close to a billion people go to bed hungry every night, without enough food to lead an active, healthy life. Canadian Foodgrains Bank also addresses this challenge of chronic hunger and food insecurity.
Captain Matondo learned about The Salvation Army's partnership with Canadian Foodgrains Bank while completing a work placement at the world missions department at territorial headquarters as part of her master of theological studies in international development at Wycliffe College in Toronto.
“In my courses at school we were talking about environmental impacts on food security throughout the world,” says Captain Matondo, corps officer at East Toronto Citadel. “During my placement with World Missions, I did research on Sierra Leone to help develop resources for Partners in Mission. When I heard about this trip, the opportunity to see what I was learning about was exciting.”
Along with nine other participants, Captain Matondo visited food projects and met the beneficiaries, learning about their lives and the issues they face—poverty, environmental degradation, gender inequality, poor health. In some areas, farmers with small plots are losing their land—and their livelihood—to large corporations. “We asked, what do you want us to do when we return home? They said, don't forget us.”
A week after she returned home, Captain Matondo wanted to spend some time with her daughter, so she booked an overnight stay at a water park. As they waited to go down the waterslide, she watched water pouring onto the excited children below. “I was thinking, what a waste of water,” she says. “The bucket tips 1,000 gallons of water onto five children. If only I could take that bucket to the village in Burkina, where people struggle without enough water. We just waste it. I felt guilty for the rest of the day.”
Since then, Captain Matondo has made simple changes, such as taking shorter showers and turning off the tap when brushing her teeth. The trip raised many questions for her and she is still trying to figure out how to respond to what she saw and heard. She hopes to share her experience by speaking to groups, and encourages people to become more aware of global issues and get involved.
“I was able to see things through a different lens and gain a better understanding of the world we live in,” she says. “I learned how the actions and choices we make can have a big impact on individuals and families in developing countries.”
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