Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with over 231 million people living in the western coastal nation. Its oil industry has produced some of the wealthiest businessmen on the continent, but the gap of socioeconomic disparity is wide, and over 90% of its citizens live in extreme poverty.
Through our Hunger To Harvest program, Healing Hands International is addressing the needs of these hungry people, both physically and spiritually. Driven by the grace of God, we are finding crops that can thrive and ways to irrigate gardens so that produce is nourished, as are lives and souls.
HHI has launched a project to grow plantain and moringa trees in the rural village of Ikot Efre Itak, a Nigerian community of genuine, friendly, hard-working people. Despite a multi-generational lack of access to resources or opportunity, they are now tilling their land with new hope, emboldened faith, and joy in the promise of a prosperous future.
Plantains are a type of banana, a bit larger than the yellow fruit most Americans know. They have a thick, green skin, more starch, less sugar, and are incredibly nutritious. Mature plantain trees often develop suckers, which are new shoots sprouting from the rhizome–or root–of the original tree. When harvested properly, these suckers can be replanted and will grow into another mature tree. Exponentially multiplying the eventual harvest, their yield is a perpetual reminder of God’s ability to do immeasurably more with our efforts than what we bring to the table. (Ephesians 3:20)
Moringa trees are incredible plants, with every part of the fast-growing tree being useful as food, medicine and even water purification. Its seed pods are much like green beans, and they can be productive for 30-40 years with the proper environment and care. With roots in the Old Testament, the moringa tree has been a blessing to humans for thousands of years. After Moses led the Israelites through the parted waves of the Red Sea, his people wandered through the Wilderness of Shur where the water was bitter and undrinkable. Moses appealed to God in desperation, and God instructed Moses to toss a moringa tree into the water. By the touch of the moringa, the water was instantly sweet and potable, displaying God’s sovereign protection and power over creation and circumstance. (Exodus 15:22-25)
HHI is also led by God’s providence, and His mercies provided this project with 1000 plantain suckers and 667 moringa stands for the people of Ikot Efre Itak. In addition, we were able to drill a borehole well, which is a sustainable source of clean water, tapped deep into natural aquifers between underground layers of rock and soil.
The entire village has come together with excitement and anticipation to clear their land in preparation for the new plantain and moringa crops, young children working alongside their parents and grandparents.
The women of the village know that their efforts will bring blessings to many. Affiong Okon predicts, “We will have enough to sell, and that will motivate us to diversify our farming, and will–in the long run–assist the needy brethren.”
Alice James declares with faith-filled foresight and praise, “Lives will be transformed, financially and spiritually.”
Charles Umoh is the minister of the village, and he expressed deep gratitude for the survival garden training that has given his people a major source of income, and for the borehole, which is their only source of water for the whole community. He spoke with such happiness about the experience with HHI and the years to come: “Healing Hands has sincerely invested much in us… We are very proud of your efforts in reducing poverty among men, women, children and the community. Through these impactful projects, every member of this congregation will look back and say, ‘I am what I am today because of Healing Hands.’ May God bless you for humanitarian services… across the globe in Jesus Christ Name. Amen.”
And May God bless you as supporters of the HHI mission–to aid, equip and empower these good people, all in the name of Jesus Christ. May God’s grace be apparent in your life, as you are certainly a blessing in the work of HHI and the souls around the world that you give us means to reach.