Dripping With Promise

by Jen Johnson

A simple irrigation system in Kenya is not only nourishing soil, but souls.

When God called him to prepare a home for vulnerable children, Benson Mungai didn’t start by looking for kids. He planted a garden.

Today, in vivid contrast to the dry and dusty landscape, that garden spreads out for acres in front of Nipe Tumaini Children’s Home in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Rows of beans, onions, and spinach stripe the fields, and trees hang heavy with fruit. The store room is full of dry beans and maize from the previous harvest.

Benson and his wife Eunice’s vision was to create a safe home where children would receive love and holistic care, with an additional focus: “We believe sustainability is the way to go, for any project or organization to succeed,” says Benson. Through farming and irrigation, Nipe Tumaini is working toward growing enough food to feed the kids and staff, with surplus to sell in the market. Rice & Beans Month is helping these promising ideas become a reality.

Rice & Beans Month donations purchased a drip irrigation system and a 10,000-liter storage tank. “This is a semi-arid area,” Benson explains. “People can go years without getting a harvest. Many kids can go without a meal, or maybe just eat once a day. We are so grateful for the drip irrigation, because with very little water we are able to grow crops. In fact, here we buy very little. Whenever we need a banana, it is there on the farm. If we need the papayas, they are there. Slowly by slowly we are moving forward, planting more. So it will be amazing for the kids!”

Since the original drip system was installed, a school building has been built and is now filled with students from Nipe Tumaini and the surrounding community. An additional home has been built and new staff hired. There are more types of crops and animals being raised, and Rice & Beans Month helped to upgrade irrigation and install a huge underground water tank that will eliminate dependence on seasonal rains.

Drop by drop, the children’s home is becoming self-sustaining. Nipe Tumaini means “give me hope,” and that is exactly what the home is doing for vulnerable children who are now thriving. Benson offers his thanks to those who have donated, saying, “We have seen the results of Rice & Beans Month here, and your sacrifice is not in vain.”

Scripture, Reflection, & Prayer:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

The cycle of tilling, planting, cultivating, and harvesting lasts through many seasons, and ends only to begin again. In this passage, Paul makes it a metaphor for our spiritual lives. What encouragement does this verse hold for you, as you persevere in spite of weariness? In addition to actual crops, what “good” is being harvested at Nipe Tumaini? Consider the relationship between “the good” you are sowing and “the good” Benson is sowing. What harvest do we all hope for?

God, we thank you today for the physical nourishment that comes with the harvesting of food, and for the strength gained from hard-earned spiritual harvests as well. Help us persevere, toward our individual and collective good, trusting your faithfulness through every season. Amen.