July 2015 Project Roundup: Planting in Ghana, Selling Ambulances, Preparing for Panama
July 10, 2015
We are delighted to report that our first demonstration plot in Ghana has been planted! David Reeves recently returned from a successful training trip to an area outside of Accra, where we are partnering with Sesa Mu, a local university student group committed to assisting farmers with improved techniques. Peter Mueller and his team deserve big thanks for all the hard work they put into preparing for this training.
David’s training with Joshua, new team member Collins, and members of Sesa Mu began with the hard work of site preparation. The fields were full of rocks, boulders and roots that had to be removed prior to planting. On one day, about 15 locals with an interest in conservation agriculture visited the site for basic training and a highly productive Q&A session with David, who was encouraged to see Joshua and Collins answer many of the questions in the local tribal language for those who did not understand English. After the planting, God blessed the fields with an overnight rain.
New daily cases of Ebola are still hovering in the 0-3 range. The World Health Organization reports 13,059 confirmed cases and 3,928 confirmed deaths from the outbreak in Sierra Leone.
World Hope International will buy two of the five ambulances in October and will continue to use them until then. We have sold one ambulance to the West Africa Fistula Foundation and another to Jericho Road, an organization that provides medical care in Sierra Leone. We have a lead on the sale of the fifth ambulance.
The pineapple harvest is now expected in September, and the crop looks great. We are in regular communication with Africa Felix Juice regarding the proper timing of staffing up, so that our crew is in place when harvest day arrives. Timing will be critical if they are to be sold in the fresh market instead of the juice market.
Our partner Jesse Shanks and his family have returned to the mission field. He will start a new demo crop in his yard in about two weeks, and has a trip planned to visit the farmers we worked with during the initial training in February. Jesse reports that many farmers in the area already have lost their crops this year due to an unusual weather pattern. Farmers normally plant when the rainy season begins, but this year a lack of consistent rain prevented the seeds from properly germinating. Jesse hopes to secure interest from some of these farmers using conservation agriculture techniques, including a thick mulch blanket. Thick mulch would have kept the soil moist longer between rains and potentially saved many crops.
Members of the leadership team soon will visit Panama and meet with Nina and Luz from Panama and Carolina from Colombia. We hope to finalize life skills curriculum, English teaching materials and staffing needs on this trip as we gear up for our project there. This project will assist teenage children aging out of orphanages by teaching them critical life skills and a language that can open doors to higher paying job opportunities. These classes, combined with computer skills that they are learning through the Orphan Starfish Foundation, will allow the best opportunity for these children to make a successful transition to safe, independent, adult living.