Wednesday, November 28, 2012
More Than Enough!
Treading carefully down the steep slope at Trees of Glory care-point in Ethiopia, sunlight glinted harshly off the tin roof of the large building we were aiming toward. As we approached, I could hear a steady murmur of chickens clucking contentedly and beginning to make more noise when they heard our crunching footsteps.
Check out this video from 2 weeks ago in Ethiopia ...
The traditional "wattle and daub" construction of the building keeps the interior cool, while the modern metal roof protects the structure from wind and rain. As we stepped inside, a bucket of bleach solution was ladeled onto a mat that we all stepped on to kill any germs or virus'.
The ruckus increased as Simret picked up a large scoop of chicken feed and sprinkled it generously into the tray in front of the chickens. They immediately pressed to the front of the cages as Simret murmured to them, looking over each hen with care and concern.
The chickens are able to move freely within the cages, about 5-6 chickens per enclosure, but they rush to the front at the possibility of food. An egg rolled to the front of the cage, and a ready hand plucked it out and added it to the harvest already gleaned that day. With a huge smile, Simret exclaimed "That makes 177 today!!! A new record!"
Last year at this time, Simret had explained to me her idea for a poultry project at Trees of Glory. "This rural area does not have access to eggs or chickens in the local markets. Not only would eggs provide an important protein source for the kids, but we could also sell eggs in the market to generate income for other essentials and begin to gain self-sufficiency." Simret's vision was embraced by my church here in Buffalo MN and it became our Christmas project last year and was completely funded in 5 weeks!!!
Today - it is fully functioning with nearly 300 chickens producing eggs at the rate of 180+ per day!! More than enough to provide nutritional food and protein for the 175 kids attending Trees of Glory, and also a welcome new provision in the local markets.
"The local markets only provide basics like rice, wheat, tef, beans, spices and cooking oil. Fresh produce like eggs, chickens, fruits and vegetables have to be bought in the markets closer to Addis, which costs more and requires transportation expenses as well," explained Simret. Providing fresh eggs to the local market also gives families facing malnutrition a much-needed option for protein!
As it is, Simret travels to Addis every other week to purchase onions, carrots, beans, fruits and vegetables as well as bulk supplies to provide a balanced and nutritional diet for the kids. The extra income generated from the poultry has helped cover those expenses so she can provide better nutrition for the kids!
Simret went on to explain that eventually egg production will decrease and when it does, the chickens can be sold in the market for their meat (as well as their egg production) and the income generated will be used to acquire new chicks. The entire project will become completely self-sustaining.
Additionally, children attending the care-point as well as their families are being trained in poultry farming and egg production. "Not only will we supply vocational training to the kids, but eventually families will have their own chickens for food and an income source!"
THANK YOU to Buffalo Covenant Church in MN for partnering with Trees of Glory care-point in Ethiopia to achieve this vision which has already had a far-reaching impact!!
If YOU would like to get involved by helping to fund a project at Trees of Glory, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Simret shared several ideas with me that will help the care-point serve even more orphaned and destitute children and generate income to become more self-sufficient.