"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the vision

There are a lot of visions for this school. There is theological/biblical training, carpentry training, construction training, and other trade training well as agricultural training. The vision is also that the school would provide food for its self through the farming operation of the school. That is where I am supposed to come in. I know farming; I was born and raised with it. It is what I have done my whole life. I understand it and I know what it takes to do it successfully. I am learning what it takes to do it successfully in a third world country and culture. The first thing it takes is capital. It does not matter where you are on this earth: it takes cash to start a business of any kind. And for the size and kind of operation that Gospelink wants for this school, it is going to take lots. There is nothing here as of yet-there is no infrastructure in place. The land still needs to be cleared.
I can picture/ envision what this framing operation can be. I can see the different aspects of it: the livestock side, the large grain fields, the small gardens, the wild life. The first thing to do in order to farm here is fence. I am not talking about a single or double strand fence. I am talking about a 6 foot high mesh with electric strands and it needs to go around the entire property.
It has many purposes. First is to secure the property. Second is to keep animals in (the farming livestock as well as wildlife-we could stock impalas, zebras, exotic birds, etc.,) and more importantly it is to keep animals (the livestock tradition) and people out (the theft issue). Third, you have to maintain the fence by keeping it clear around the fence which in turn creates the fire break that we need for the property. A high quality professional grade fence has to be priority number one before you can begin the other aspects of the agriculture operation. Yes- you can do something small, simple, less expensive and temporary. But that is what it is, temporary, a waste of time and money in my opinion. Do it right and do it right the first time, and it will be less expensive in the long run. It will be permanent and it solves many of the on going problems we have been dealing with here. When I was at ECHO in Ft. Myers, Florida getting some training to come here, an instructor said some thing to me that I found interesting. It was what he had personally observed, and that is: “wherever livestock roam freely and rule the landscape, poverty abounds”. Look at what happened when fencing was introduced in the states. People, a society, began to prosper. Where livestock have free rein to wander, eat what they want, where they want- you have hunger and poverty. God says we are to rule the landscape not the livestock. To set up an operation of this size it takes time. The problem: we need food now for students and staff. The agricultural operation should have been started years ago but it wasn’t. So now we are playing catch up. Another “small” issue is there is no budget for agriculture right now. Yes that is a problem, considering you can do very little without money. I am done planting until the rains in November. I am going to be planning out the gardens for next year, planning my classroom instruction time with the students, and writing a budget proposal (post to come on that-there are many questions that need to be asked). Until we have the fence in place, what will happen if I set up for irrigation for the dry season? If we are the only ones that have nice lush green vegetation in the area, every animal for miles will be here.
Even if the money came in tomorrow for the fence, it is not something that would go up over night. It could easily take a couple of months to clear the land and put the fence in place with the gates needed (when the backhoe is fixed). Yes, we still need the money for the fence; but I can’t plant even if it came tomorrow.
So I am asking questions. Lots of questions-two pages worth of questions. What are the needs of the project? What are the goals? How do they need to be adjusted? What resources do we have? What will be available? What do we need to do first? How can what I know from farming in the States apply here? Much of it will, but yes, lots won’t. Maybe I will post my question list. I have no problem asking for suggestions, for help. We have readers all over the world, I wonder what ideas they will have that I can entertain? Any help is better than none at all! I haven’t ever written a full farming budget proposal from scratch; much less in a third world country, with no monetary guidelines, and not knowing what the full and end resources will be. I appreciate your prayers!

1 comment:

wewally said...

Hi, I am surprized that after being at echo that you are still an american farmer at heart. Learning appropriate technology seems to be the first step at echo and how to adapt it to a local community.
If you get your big fence you have created an American vision. You will be teaching your students how to farm the American way.They will smile and then go home and do it the african way. What may be better would be to spent time with Zambians who have learned to deal with the problem the zambian way. I find it hard to believe that no one in the country does not farm season long. I don't know what they have for a dept. of ag. in the country but there must be a few wise folks you can draw on. My thoughts for what they are worth. is build a 100x100 garden plot and enclose it with a stick fence 300 acres should provide enough sticks to build a cow proof stockade and along with compost, get you on a very productive start of a garden.