Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Small Beginnings

The most heartbreaking experience I’ve had during my time in Haiti, has been the sight of children and babies brought to One Family Children’s Home malnourished or even at the brink of starvation. I’ve seen this over and over. And one of the most common reasons that a parent surrenders their child to One Family is food insecurity.
It’s hard for us in the developed world to truly grasp what food insecurity means, much less what it looks like or feels like.
There are children in the neighborhood where we work in Haiti who only eat once a day, and sometimes go two whole days without any food at all.       
We might have a little insight into that. If you’ve ever had to fast for bloodwork or for religious reasons then you have an idea of what it’s like to go 12 hours or a full day without eating…but you knew it was going to end. You knew that once the bloodwork was finished you could make up for lost time. You knew that once the clock struck whatever o’clock you were going to eat.
These kids never know. They never know if they’ll have enough, or some, or nothing. That’s messed up. That’s a hard way to live. That’s reality.  
So I encountered these children, kids in the neighborhood who came to school hungry and kids from the community who arrived at the orphanage skinny and sick, and they haunted me.
And then one day my family was having breakfast, bread and eggs, made by a woman from church who cooked for us. And I started thinking about her. Her husband was an unemployed, raging alcoholic who routinely drank her entire paycheck, yet her three children were healthy and chubby. And so I asked her how she managed this. And she said that when she was a young girl, her mother had taught her to garden and tend livestock. Now, as a mother, she makes it her priority to maintain a garden and raise goats and chickens to keep her children healthy.
Beautiful, brilliant, and simple.
 So we started talking and dreaming, “How do we take what this mother does for her children and put it into practice for the children who live at One Family.”
And we came up with a farm.
The vision for this farm is that it will provide fruit and vegetables and livestock to broaden and improve the diets of the kids at One Family. The excess fruit and vegetables and livestock will be sold to provide a new revenue source for the orphanage. But more important than either of these benefits is that the children of One Family will be given a place to learn about agriculture and animal husbandry, so that when they grow up and have families of their own they know how to feed their families. They will leave One Family knowing how to keep a garden and tend livestock and keep themselves and their children healthy and chubby.

The farm is almost finished. Phases 1(building a 12 foot wall around the perimeter and installing gates at both ends) and 2 (digging two wells, purchasing pumps and generators, and tilling the land) are completed and phase 3 is ready to begin.
Phase 3 includes the construction of a small house for the workers who will tend the land and animals and a depot to keep the equipment safe. We are $17,000 away from making phase 3 a reality and putting the farm into production.   Would you join us in breaking the cycle of food insecurity for these kids and their future families?  You can make a donation here or email me. 
"Do not despise these small beginnings, 
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin" 
Zechariah 4:10