Tiyéda Abalah Bawiena from Togo, West Africa, shares her story, one year on from Findhorn’s New Story Summit. Tiyéda was meant to attend the summit in person, but unfortunately did not receive the necessary visa. This is her long-awaited opportunity to share the story of the work of she and her husband, Séda, to bring back the practices of the ancient agrarian civilisation of their people, which are now being used as a model to implement similar holistic, organic farming structures and strategies all over the country….
In 2013 I discovered the Tamera Peace Research Centre, got connected to the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), the Ghana Permaculture Institute, and the Green phoenix, where a lot was shared on the world’s evolution today. These sharings confirmed the change my husband Séda and I committed ourselves to be, 30 years ago, with the motto:
“Let’s work together for development that benefits one and all“. This work created the following pathways:
- Techniques for the creation of water retention spaces for land healing
- Growing bio-intensively on the ground and in sacs
- Cultivating inner and outer peace
- Money not being the most important element in life
- Our story awakening many in our environment, the sub-region, from different continents yearning for holistic ways of living.
This served to seed our life in all directions, inspiring the creation of the Fertilising Arid Hearts and Land Foundation.
What ignites and sustains our passion is the dream of bringing back to life the ancient agrarian civilization of our people. The tenets of this civilization are solidarity in action, cooperation, fertility, and peace among the people. The vision of this civilization stimulates, giving us the courage to overcome all difficulties. But the civilization of possession and consumption is a permanent challenge.
How can one dare to think that nature can be fertile in a rich and prosperous environment when possessed by individualism and the joy of material goods? We overcome obstacles by keeping to the primary vision, the vision with which we started the journey, and being faithful to the human being despite the limits of the latter’s nature.
Working with organization and method, allowing the results to speak to the people, is one of our strategies that attracts and hooks. The land, once considered unproductive, is today healed, full of fruits, vegetables and cereals. A big forest has emerged from the ground, covering the whole area with patches of green here and there. This living image attracts people from all over the world who come to be inspired, to learn and to share. This gives hope to all that our present world can be rebuilt. The attraction of new local communities to this natural way of living in cooperation with nature, supports our efforts and journey. This is how we learnt from experience that one is never alone when one dares to join hands with others in the ocean of human energies.
The Centre is well rooted in its environment today and the state is now using our model to implement similar organic farming structures and strategies all over the country. The trained students from our school are in turn creating natural farming centres in their native villages helping to heal mother earth and solve some of the problems driving people to leave their environment.
Going back to our roots, staying and working with the natives has greatly shaped our character in that the more we build a world of solidarity with a humane face, the more fertile our inner self becomes. This world of solidarity drives away our inner individualistic yearnings, inviting us to love and to give ourselves to service.
This has deeply influenced our outer realities as we can picture from the following event:
Once a man from a nearby community revealed in public: “How did that happen? How did he transform this rocky hilly place into a fertile piece of land full of life?” he asked himself. “In fact, I was passing the other day and couldn’t help admiring the fields around me. I came out of the car, looked and looked without ending and said to myself, when Séda cultivates the land, it is not only food for the body but it is also for the soul and spirit.”
This is how our commitment for life has contributed to changing the environmental realities of our life.
We set out on our journey full of faith that, working differently, we can transform poverty to wealth. When day breaks, it scatters all shadows that can still frighten. In the same way the emergent nature resembles a new day that breaks the darkness of our current world.
A new story replaces an old story which was once new before becoming old. This is the cycle of life with its hopes and forces. Even if the night has been long we are certain that a new day will appear to chase the night. So we work and hope.
In our case the old story was the only living story. It was the only reason for our survival on earth. Organic farming, we lived it intensively without looking for an alternative. The new story is therefore born to renew the old from within, allowing it to easily adapt to new times. It was the unknown future, the old story, that caused Belgium evaluators in the early nineties to speak of futilities. They didn’t know then that in them were hidden the seeds of natural farming. The reign of what the Pope calls today “Our Common Home”.
The future lies in my contribution to the building of a world of solidarity. So I undertake concrete actions bearing in mind that someone elsewhere is doing the same thing for the same purpose.
I join the international community of people of goodwill acting to bring change shadowing the negative tendencies and making them disappear. I work as if the collective care taking of “Our Common Home” depends on me alone for its germination and growth because from individual efforts collective efforts are born.
Photographs: Courtesy of Emmannuelle SODJI