April 9, 2017

11 Apr

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Today, Palm Sunday, could not be more glorious.   The sky is a beautiful shade of blue with fluffy white clouds leisurely floating along. A soft breeze is blowing and I am looking at an African landscape, with green hills in the distance. It is so quiet and peaceful. This is not so throughout the world. I feel very blessed to have this experience. So many people have come by to ask, “Do you remember me?” Unfortunately, I don’t always remember. They change as they grow up. I think back and wonder how many lives have been changed by the work of HCOC. Young adults tell me their stories. Many stories have happy endings but not all.

At 5:00 am on Tuesday morning we left for Harare. Tafadzwa’s baby was scheduled to be at the hospital by 7:30 a.m. It was still dark at 5:00 a.m. and driving on these roads is a challenge at any time and especially in the dark. It took us one hour to drive 35 km (22+ miles) to the hard surface road. We were all exhausted by the time we reached a decent road. The story doesn’t end there. Beauty spent hours going from one department to the next trying to find where the baby was to be. The end of the story is nothing got done and she has to repeat the trip in another week. I can’t tell you how good the baby was from all of the moving around. It was the rest of us that were exhausted.

Clive and his assistant from Harare Institute of Technology put on a two day workshop this week here at HCOC. The workshop was focused on Organic Farming. The first day was primarily lecture and some power-point presentations. In the end, those in attendance had to draw a picture showing how they plan to begin putting the things they learned into practice at their own homes.

The second day focused on various types of composting and ways of building compost bins. The last part dealt with worm composting. Clive had brought 5 kg. of worms to begin a compost bin. I am anxious to see where this goes. It is very difficult to start something new that is unfamiliar to the average person. I am glad I will be here for a while to observe what happens.

There were about 25 people or so who attended the workshop. Many of the staff were present as well as members of the community at large. Albert is using this as a way to begin introducing the community to the raising of Moringa. He wants them to know about organic farming for the future of this project.

One of the farmers in attendance was 88 years old. That age is not common in rural areas. He had walked some distance to be able to attend the class.

There are many Moringa starts in the greenhouse ready to go into the field. I am curious to see how they plant them after the workshop that has just taken place. Chris has to replace many trees that flooded out during the terrible rain storms the last several months. Clive recommended some things they could do to provide better drainage. The possibility of having such a rainy season again soon is highly unlikely. It has been nearly 70 years since they have had such rains.

These two pictures are from the poultry project. Through the USADF grant, HCOC was encouraged to begin water harvesting. As a result they have put eave troughs along the bottom edge of the roof of the poultry runs. The down spout drains into a trough that runs along the side of the building and eventually dumps into a tank.   The tank is 12 to 16 feet deep and this tank is full of water as a result of the heavy rains this year. Water from this tank can be used for irrigating gardens nearby. Another possibility is that they can stock this with fish. The fish can be sold to the local community and also be used in the feeding program for the orphans.

I have recommended that they use the water for irrigating crops at the moment. I don’t think it wise to begin too many new things at one time.   Fish can be added as they become better at composting and cropping. I am very pleased with the progress they have made in the past year.

I have had a number of boarding school students come to see me. School term has just completed and they are on Easter break. It is fun to meet some of the students that Renewed Hope is paying Boarding School Fees for. I am happy to report that the students that I have spoken to are doing well in their studies. I find any low marks are usually in Shona and English.

I am out of space and so will bring this letter to a close. Please pray for these children who have no one to care for them. With your support we can continue to send them to Boarding Schools for their higher education. It is preparing them to face the future.

In His Service, Roberta

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