Training in Famine Regions
Joseph Ole Saole is a minister from the village of Laikipia. This community of 12,000 people is in the North-Eastern region of Kenya where it is hot and dry with no prediction of rainfall. Joseph has recently started attending the Nairobi Great Commission School where Healing Hands International has a demonstration garden. After seeing the results from the methods being taught there, along with seeing the impact our Food Sustainability Workshops have had in areas across Kenya, Joseph requested Ebenezer Udofia to come to his village and train his people.
Ebenezer traveled to Laikipia and, over a three day period in October, trained 30 people in survival gardening techniques. Trainees were taught how to use a drip irrigation kit, how to build raised garden beds and methods for composting and mulching among other things. After completing the workshop, trainees were given drip irrigation kits to start their own garden and implement the techniques they were taught.
Ebenezer lives in Kenya with his family enabling him to travel throughout Eastern Africa training the local people in food sustainability skills. Our partnership with the Nairobi Great Commission School has been instrumental in growing the reach of HHI's Agricultural program. His education in small animal husbandry allows him to provide additional support to farming families and communities. He wins over the people he meets with his infectious smile and compassionate spirit.
Nourishing the Navajo Nation
It is a 28,000 square mile region spreading across four states within our country. There are close to 200,000 members of the Navajo Nation and more than half of the families live below the poverty level. When we talk about the poorest of the poor, we generally are referring to those living in developing countries. However, there are regions of our own nation in which families struggle to scrape together one good meal each day.
In 2001, HHI had the opportunity to partner with the Manuelito Children's Home in Gallup, NM to deliver more than 20,000 lbs. of food and cattle feed to the families in the Navajo Nation who had been affected by severe winter weather. Now, ten years later, the Navajo people have again been devastated by severe winter weather and HHI has been able to help by providing food, fuel, cattle feed and blankets.
In May of 2011, HHI staff and volunteers traveled to Kayenta, AZ to teach the life saving skills of survival gardening and food preservation. Aleta Mariano and her children were just one of several families who came and learned how to feed their families a healthy diet on very little income. The "hands-on" workshop taught the use of a drip irrigation kit, composting and seed transplanting to name a few. The skills these families are learning in the week-long workshop help to teach a better way and stop the cycle of dependency by empowering them to help themselves.
Blessings in Malawi
In 2002, Malawi was suffering from years of famine and a growing AIDS epidemic. Orphaned children were dying of disease and starvation and the livestock and crops were decimated. HHI's Agricultural Director, David Goolsby, traveled to the country to train local farmers in survival gardening techniques. As he taught them he encouraged them to go out and train other farmers in these same techniques. From that initial trip grew a first-of-its-kind operation in Africa. David eventually spent seven months helping more than 200 local workers build the Madalitso (Blessings) Food Plant. The plant turns corn and soybean crops grown by the local farmers into VitaMeal, a vitamin fortified flour that is purchased by Feed the Children and Nourish the Children. These organizations then use the VitaMeal to feed hundreds of children in a nearby orphanage and thousands more in villages throughout the area. By teaching the farmers food sustainability skills, David not only taught these individuals how to feed themselves but empowered them to be able to help others in their community.
Women Trained in Food Preservation Techniques
In 2008, Dr. Willa Finley, knowledgeable in agriculture and nutrition, Brenda McVey, a missionary in Ghana for more than 20 years, Eleni Melirrytos, a seasoned cook and gifted public speaker, Janice Goolsby, with more than 20 years of experience in food preservation, and Alisa Merritt Van Dyke, the youngest of the group, boarded a plane to Maiduguri, Nigeria. Their mission was new and simple, teach women the skills of food preservation techniques and empower them to bless their families and communities.
This project was inspired by a Muslim woman, named "AB," one of the few women to attend a drip irrigation workshop held by HHI the previous year. She made the comment that it would be useful to the women of her country to learn ways to better preserve and prepare food for their families. Through her encouragement, an idea was born. Almost a year later, a group of five women trainers from four different nations were able to train 80 women in solar drying and food preservation techniques. The week-long workshop included women of both the Christian and Muslim faiths. Each day the group set aside a special time for prayer and meditation and also spent time discussing how God has blessed them through food and nutrition. One Muslim trainee mentioned she was moved by the glory the trainers gave to God and she didn't realize Christians were such prayerful people.
From this initial workshop to date, hundreds of women have been trained in food preservation skills. Not only has HHI been able to touch these women's lives, but many of them are going back to their community and training others, spreading the knowledge they have learned!