The gift of knowledge: Greenwood couple shares farm wisdom with Zimbabwean villagers
Matt and Maria Bendixen do not usually have someone perform a thank you song for them at the end of a workday. They did in Zimbabwe.
And there was a welcome song, too, when they first arrived in a small African village, and uncommon shows of respect and appreciation for the gift of agricultural knowledge they brought with them and shared with the subsistence farmers. The reception and gratitude they received was the Greenwood couple’s payment for taking several weeks from their lives to help people who have had little contact from the outside world.
The Oct. 12-29 trip to Zimbabwe was the third outreach visit to a foreign country for Maria, a former Clark County UW-Extension dairy and livestock agent, and now the owner of Cowculations Consulting, a business that assists farmers with profitability and growth. She has also been to Kenya and Nicaragua.
This was the first overseas venture for Matt, a 17-year employee of Heartland Co-op/River Country Co-op. His specialty is in animal nutrition and forage production, and he heard enough about his wife’s previous trips that he wanted to see for himself what it was like.
“I just said, if that’s such a good program that you think you should go again, maybe there’s something I’m missing and I should join you,” Matt said. “If she found it rewarding that she wanted to go again, I wanted to know what in the world it could be.”
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