Inspiring dedication and solidarity

IVEP partner insight

Three people standing for a photo on a farm
Left to right: Marri Cruz, Tom Beneventz and Samuel Lasiti working in Jubilee Climate Farm in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Photo coutesy of Jubilee Climate Farm

Samuel is often the first of our crew to arrive at the farm. As I roll in before 7 a.m., he is in the field examining the garden beds and recently planted persimmon and jujube trees or doing some early weeding. Samuel greets me with his bright eyes and a wide smile. Samuel Lasiti is a Kenyan MCC IVEPer volunteering with us at our Jubilee Climate Farm, an initiative of New Community Project where we seek climate solutions and experiment with farming more like nature.

It has been a joy and honor to host Samuel over the past 10 months of his service term. His dedication to the work, his engagement in our community and his knowledge and experiences from Kenya have been great gifts to our staff. Samuel’s commitment to caring for people and God’s creation inspires us. Within a short few months, he quickly learned Spanish to better communicate and build friendships with our Spanish-speaking staff. He now regularly laughs and jokes in Spanish. He has even learned how to eat hot spicy Mexican salsa. I have also noticed while we are working in the garden, he will say to a lush green kale plant, “I see that you enjoy growing here”, or when we had to move our pear trees several feet he said, “ I hope you don’t mind me moving you to a new home”. This kind of attention to detail and care for others, even plants, are beautiful gifts he brings to our community. 

As the weeks and months have passed, his concerns and commitments to creating a better world are helping us to deepen our mission. For example, Samuel has opened our eyes more clearly to the realities of climate change, hunger and its impacts on his country. Over beans and tortillas for lunch one day at the farm, he started sharing photos from his phone that were being sent to him live from his village. Team members Irma and Maricruz and I huddled around him to see photos of the severe drought that was happening in Kenya. There was an image of a zebra lying on the ground and others drinking from a village water trough. The situation was so dire that wild animals like zebras and elephants were coming into his village community to seek refuge.

Samuel shows us what solidarity means. He has come to share his excitement for farming, community work and fully digging in with us. He is willing to do any task that is needed. Even on chilly rainy days, he is ready to work. He gladly washes big piles of dishes after lunch and hauls buckets of water up the hillside to delicate recently planted fruit trees. He cares in such a way that our work is his work. Our goals are also his goals. Our concerns are his concerns. This contributes to the success of his placement, but in a deeper way, it reveals to us the best of our human journey — to care for one another.

Global Service Learning

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