April 14, 2017

18 Apr

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

There has been only one five minute shower since Susan returned to the U.S. It is the end of the rainy season, although we could get a brief shower now and again. However, the way it looks, I doubt that will happen.

As you can see, maize harvest is in full swing. The field beside the house where I stay was harvested yesterday. It amazes me how quickly they go through a field. There were six or seven workers and they cut and shucked all of the maize in this one field. Early this morning, at day break, I heard them picking up the shucked maize by donkey cart loads. I am uncertain where they put it until it is dry enough to shell. After it is shelled it will be treated to keep out weevils and stored until ready for grinding into mealy-meal for the feeding center.

Last Saturday, seven church members of a church some distance from here, came to see the project. Albert explained that the members are very poor and need advice on things they can do to improve their condition. They spent five or six hours here touring the projects and learning how they can work together and build their own projects. The last thing they did was to come to the house where I stay. I talked to them about Moringa and its nutritional value. I also showed them pictures of how to grow Moringa. I am anxious to see how they move forward

Blessing, another one of our Boarding School students came to see me one day this past week. He is home between terms for a short break. He brought his report card to show me how he was doing. All of his grades were quite good. However, his lowest marks were in English and Shona. I encouraged him to find someone who could give him some extra help. He promised me that he would do that. It is exciting to me to see these students and how proud they are of their accomplishments.

Friends and supporters, we are making a difference in the lives of these young people. I know that when you are so far away, you must wonder if your contributions make a difference. I assure you that they do change the lives of these young people. In fact, beginning June 1, one of our University Students will be on attachment here for an entire year. He will be working in our accounting department and will return to the University for his final year of study the following year.

I have been concerned that Secondary Students were not being catered for at the Feeding Center. In the beginning they came in large numbers but not so now. We had trouble finding out the reason. They were reluctant to talk to us. I suggested that maybe it would help for us to build a kitchen at the Secondary School. That brought a response. They were adamant that they did not want that to happen. Susan tried her best to get them to understand that we wanted to work with them to resolved the issue. Two Secondary Teachers are going to work with us and try to find a solution to the problem. I know these children are hungry. They admitted as much. Teen-agers are breed of their own.

Here you can see the sharp freezer that has been installed at the poultry project. This is a fairly recent development. The USADF Grant funded this project as well as the rain catchment system that I wrote about last week. The picture on the right is the system that operates the sharp freezer.  It is housed just outside the building where the freezer is housed. Chickens are put in this sharp freezer as soon as they have been dressed. Once sharp frozen, the chickens are immediately transported to Murewa to the outlet there. This has been a big step forward in the poultry department. Now they are working toward having vegetables to deliver to the market at the same time the chickens are delivered.

In closing, I ask for your prayers for the future projects here. This is the end of the two year grant from USADF. HCOC has turned in their final report. All looks good. They are hopeful of receiving a renewal of five years. The amount of the grant is uncertain. There is a great deal of concern that the funding may be cut significantly or stopped altogether. Please consider writing your congressmen and explaining what a tragedy it would be to cut funding for the project at this time. HCOC is well on its way of becoming self-sustaining. I would hate to lose that momentum.

In His Service,
Roberta

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