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Letter to my child

THE odds of a young person in Zimbabwe starting out are stacked heavily against them.How can a young man or woman deal with the following pressures:

Earning below poverty datum or is dependent on other family members or has no regular income?No capacity to acquire land in the foreseeable future due to low savings or no savings?

Not having had a priviledge to be trained at home about the importance of the dignity of manual labour and vocational skills?

Facing time pressure, six days of hard work where they are employed, read in the evenings and rest on just one day or no rest — presumably,  no time to engage in productive personal projects or manual labour?

Sees non-manual labour as the first step or only step for their financial breakthrough?

Here are some principles and their application that can assist a young man or woman struggling to start out to life due to difficult circumstances. The applications of the principles put out below are not prescriptive but illustrative.

Dear daughter/son

My daughter and son, I speak to you from the heart of a dad who wants you to succeed in life.

Allow me my dear child to share with you some ideas from the Bible.

First, my child, the education system started by God in Eden shows that production is the Early Childhood Development (ECD) level. This is a powerful plan from God. Adam, God’s first human son was trained in production before he could advance academically. You ask me how that is so.

The naming of animals in Genesis 2:18-20 is advanced intellectual training. It came after God put His son Adam through production training.

This idea was distorted by the influential Greeks of ancient times. Plato, one of their iconic philosophers taught that manual work he called techne banausike was for the lowly in society who were intellectually challenged. He said technical skills were not knowledge at all. He taught that true knowledge was intellectual.

My child, you are familiar with the image of Daniel 2 that predicted the succession of world empires emanating from what is now the Middle East and from Europe. The Grecian empire was followed by the Imperial Rome. The Romans inherited the teachings of Plato on education. They went a step further and structured their society according to class.

At the top of their society, manual work and vocational skills were looked down upon. Manual work was for the slaves and the freemen (emancipated slaves). My child, you know from the Daniel 2 image, Imperial Rome fragmented into 10 divisions, with three of the nations later uprooted circa 6th century (AD). Seven remained.

You know my child that one of the surviving nations from the 10 is the Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxons in the form of the British Empire colonised our very country, Zimbabwe.

The philosophy of education that was introduced by the Greeks, applied by the Romans and inherited by the Anglo-Saxons was introduced as colonial education. My child, if you ask your grandfather and grandmother they will tell you about the F1 and F2 education streams in Rhodesia.

The F1 stream was for the “bright” students. These did purely academic subjects, no practical subjects. Plato was ruling from the grave. F2 was for the “not-so-academically gifted” — these concentrated on practical subjects.

This is why technical colleges were separated from universities and are still separated even today. My child, you know very well, after Independence, the ‘academically gifted’ were asked to drop practical subjects and were streamed into Sciences, Arts and Commercials. Plato still rules from the grave.  My child, you know about the Dark Ages of Europe. When the Reformation came, it was accompanied by the rise of the liberal university and the ascendancy of the liberal arts movement. As Martin Luther in Germany and others in the other territories of Europe were clamouring for religious freedom, others were clamouring for intellectual freedom — they wanted to break free from the restrictions to think freely placed by the religio-political system of the Dark Ages that held the minds of Europeans in vice-like grip. They clamoured also to be like the upper classes of the old Roman Empire, who did intellectual work only and no manual work.

This intellectual liberation is what birthed liberal arts movement, the liberal university that has survived to the present. This is how academic work that remotely resembles practicality came about. My child, practical subjects were shunned from the universities because they were associated with the oppressed classes of Rome.

My child, this poison came to us here through the education system copied and pasted by the colonial regime.

My son/daughter, I do not want you to be ruled by Plato who is lying in his grave in Europe. I want you to be ruled by the mind of God — He says productive practical work is your first taste of education.

My child, I bring hope and liberation of mind and soul to you. You have to fight your own liberation war to free yourself from the shackles of a philosopher who died over two thousand years ago. Be ruled by the mind of Christ who died two thousand years ago.

My child, here is how you can successfully fight the war for your mind and soul. The Bible teaches in Genesis 1:11-12 about seed and fruit. The Law of the Seed is this: a single tiny seed can bring out a tree, an orchard and even a plantation. God designed that plenty can start from the tiny. My child, from any income you get, be it pocket money, a gift or salary, no matter how small the salary is, there is seed in it — do not chew this seed. Chewing the seed is a sure way to remain under the shackles of poverty and financial stress.

My child, stop measuring money in rands and dollar terms. Measure money in terms of orchards, goats, cows, and so on, chewed away by eating seed.  My child, you are under immense pressure to work for six days from your employer and at night you have to study. My daughter/son, this is the situation you find yourself in. We need to work around this to establish the correct position. You have no land my child, you say.

Let me say you do have the land. Where you are staying, you can create space for five to 10 pawpaw trees, hybrid variety. One hybrid pawpaw tree costs US$5.

This you can raise by exercising the Law of the Seed. You can make compost my child. The rains have caused thick vegetation to grow. You say there is no space at home to accommodate compost. Your church has plenty of ground. Talk to the leaders of your local church to grant you space to do compost.

Dig using isimbo/mugwara, holes that are 45cm deep and 30cm wide. The distance between two holes must be 2 metres.

Fill each hole with compost.

My child, sleep at 9.30pm. Wake up at 3am, pray. After that, dig just one hole per day. It will take you not more than 20 minutes to dig that hole. Do your studies after this. My child, you will do a lot of studying at an exponential rate of understanding. My child, a hormone released just before midnight acts as glue that sticks to your mind what have studied before. It works.My child, consult me for detailed knowledge on how to grow these pawpaw trees.

One of these pawpaw trees can give you 80 fruits after every eight-10 months. You can sell these at US$1 to US$2  per fruit, depending on the weight. Do your math my child; how much will you likely get if you do five such pawpaw trees in your tiny yard? These fruit trees will continue producing for you for up to four years.

Even when you are resting or sleeping they will be producing. Even when you are studying they will be producing. My child, the Bible says in Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”

My child, I am willing to mentor you on how you can manage your pawpaw project and what other paths of growth you can create from your pawpaw experience.

Your loving Dad

Brett Chulu

Chulu is a management consultant and a classic grounded theory researcher who has published research in an academic peer-reviewed international journal. —brettchuluconsultant@gmail.com.

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