BRIGHT SPOTS

From Punishment to Purpose

Meet Marcus

Marcus started working at Kitongo in 2013. He then played a critical role in transforming a rangeland of bushes and shrubs into Mainsprings’ stunning, environmentally sustainable second campus at Kahunda. Here, Marcus reflects on what it is like to work at Mainsprings – including during those difficult early days in Kahunda – and what potential he sees for restorative agriculture in Tanzania.

Working at Mainsprings is like being a part of a family.

Most of us do work to win the daily bread. And I am no different. When I began at Mainsprings, I was a young man. The opportunity for paid work is what first brought me. But people welcomed me so warmly. When I started at Mainsprings, we were very much like a family. And actually, I still feel like a family member. You are at work, and you are working hard, but you don’t feel exactly at work. You also feel at home. You feel free. And that is what I love.

Today, I no longer see agriculture as work or punishment, but as a part of life – an enjoyable part! My mind has gotten stuck on Permaculture. That is where I have put most of my time ever since.

"The way I think about agriculture changed at Mainsprings."

The way most of us live in Tanzania, we see farming as like a punishment. For example, if you make a mistake in school, one of the punishments you might get is to be forced to do farm work. When I first came to Mainsprings, this was my way of thinking too. I was hoping for a great office job. I never thought I would work on the farm. But that thinking has been changing in me starting from the first day I joined the Mainsprings staff. I learned about restorative agriculture and Permaculture, and I completed a certificate.

Today, I no longer see agriculture as work or punishment, but as a part of life – an enjoyable part! My mind has gotten stuck on Permaculture. That is where I have put most of my time ever since.

Creating the Kahunda campus out of bush was difficult in more ways than one.

Kahunda is beautiful now, but you have to picture it the way that it was before. This whole place was just bushes and shrubs. In the beginning, it was only me and one other person working there too–Samson.

In those early days, we had to slash and slash down the shrubs and bushes. I loved Mainsprings and I needed the job, but after a week of slashing I have to admit that Samson and I were asking ourselves, “Is this really the job we have to do?!” As well, people in the community were teasing us about doing farm work.

But at some point, Samson and I started working on our mentality. We stopped dreaming about office jobs and started feeling proud of our work. And over time, as members of the community saw what we were doing, they began to take it positively. They also learned to feel proud about Permaculture and started to do it at their homes.

Now, we have a whole Permaculture team at the Kahunda campus, made up of local people from the community. They are filled with pride. Their homes have banana and pineapple plants growing around them. They can feed their families. Their lives have changed for the better.

The learning I have done has changed me. It has made me feel like I have a purpose to change and impact others’ lives! I have been able to share so much with other farmers!

Stories likes Marcus' are why we continue to strive towards our mission, and why your generosity is not only impacting children, their parents, and communities, but also impacting the lives of our staff members. Because of your support of Mainsprings, lives are being restored, and families rising our of poverty, and people are finding purpose! We can't thank you enough for your support that makes all of this and so much more possible!

THANK YOU!

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