09 Apr Growing With Joy!
When you think about “doing chores,” what is the first word that pops into your mind? More than likely, it is a word other than “joy.” But at a plot of land owned by Grace & Healing Ministry just outside Dodoma, Tanzania, chores and joy seem to go together like… Rice & Beans!
There are a lot of dreams attached to this plot of land, and thanks to funding from Rice & Beans Month, some of those dreams are now coming true. Grace & Healing Ministry has a small field planted with greens, and a chicken house that can hold up to several hundred chickens!
The greens are watered and harvested by hand, and then cooked and served to the children in the Lahash Sponsorship Program. All the kids eat a large weekly meal together at the “program day” gathering, and those with fragile health (due to HIV or other medical issues) can receive a meal every day. The meals are prepared and served by mothers who volunteer to help, and they enjoy adding in the greens that are grown in the program’s own gardens! At every stage of the process, from watering the seedlings through serving meals to the kids, there are wide smiles on the faces of the caring staff and volunteers who love to see the kids’ nutritional gaps getting filled.
The chickens do not grow nearly as self-sufficiently as the greens. In fact, there is a caretaker’s room attached to the chicken house, so that the chickens can be tended very closely and carefully. The caretaker’s name is Ediko, and he sees to it that the chickens are kept warm, well-fed, and protected from predators and disease. He likes being able to sleep near them, and is continuously learning about best practices to help them thrive. He wants to see the project become self-sustaining, so that money from selling chickens or eggs can be used to expand the project further.
But the main reason the chicken project makes Ediko so happy is that it puts fresh eggs into the hands of some of his favorite people.
When Ediko is not at the chicken house, he is most often at the church. Between teaching music lessons, directing the children’s choir, and helping as a teacher and mentor for the Sponsorship Program, Ediko is dedicated to seeing the kids at Grace & Healing Ministry thrive. Being able to teach them, worship with them, and help provide their families with extra nutrition is a lot of hard work, yet joy is evident in all that he does.
As Grace & Healing Ministry continues to develop this special plot of land, they dream not only of expanding the crops and the chicken project. They also envision raising pigs and adding a fish pond! They know how much it would impact vulnerable families to have sustainable income-generating projects food production in full swing. As they love and serve children day after day who struggle to overcome the obstacles of poverty and disease, they are so thankful for Rice & Beans Month and the global community that willingly sacrifices on their behalf.
As Rice & Beans participants share their donations little by little, it adds up to a huge impact in the lives of hungry kids. Developing these projects is labor intensive and not at all easy. But if you look at the faces of those raising, distributing, and eating what is grown there, you are certain to find abundant joy!
To learn more about Rice & Beans Month and how it impacts the vulnerable in East Africa, go to EatRiceAndBeans.com. If you’d like to donate toward the further development of these critical projects, this link will get you started. Thank you!