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31Mar/12

Newsletter: Winter 2012

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thanks that there are many exciting opportunities opening up in South Sudan – please pray that REAP’s teaching will be effectively taken into areas that can hugely benefit from it.  There has been considerable interest in REAP literature that is specifically relevant to South Sudan.
  • Prayer for funding for a building on the Kujulu site to facilitate a demonstration, training and resource centre
  • Praise that Roger’s work permit has been approved for another two years and that rains have begun in western Kenya, so it is now all systems go!

South Sudan opportunities

Above a Pochalla blacksmith shows the tools he makes

Jos has recently returned from spending time in Mundri, where she is planning to found a Christian nursery school. There have been some problems with obtaining the land promised but hopefully this will now be dealt with by the local authorities.

At the same time Roger was able to make a consultancy visit to Pochalle on the Ethiopian (eastern) border of South Sudan.

Roger’s study for the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency confirmed that REAP’s ‘potential’ based, rather than  ‘needs’ based, approach is highly relevant for South Sudan.

In 2002 Roger met this same blacksmith on a visit for World Relief and recommended that rather than bringing tools in from Kenya, that are not designed for South Sudan, they should import metal sheets. World Relief did this, and he showed Roger the latest products!

REAP’s Plot in Kajulu

The photo shows George digging a fish pond in the swampy area at the bottom of the plot.

REAP’s garden in Kajulu, near Kisumu, continues to mature. The Vetiver Grass hedges have become very effective barriers and soil continues to build up behind them, giving a striking image.

In the lower garden, where the water table is high, Artemisia (which cures malaria) is harvested often and its sale covers most of the ongoing expenses of the site.

A nursery area is being developed, where useful plants and trees brought in from other areas are being nurtured, developed, tried and seeds produced.

The fish pond is designed to work with the existing environment (using the principles of permaculture).  Leucaena trees will be planted around the pond, so their leaves can be harvested to feed the algae that feed the fish.

This is a photo of Sam working in the tree nursery that he has recently established on the REAP plot in Kajulu.

This is a photo of Sam working in the tree nursery that he has recently established on the REAP plot in Kajulu.

He has planted small amounts of seeds from trees and is also propagating herbs from cuttings. A combination of black plastic bags and milk containers are being used. The sugar cane in the background is from a neighbour’s farm, but in front of it, the darker green is Artemisia.

Stoves and Kitchens

Domitilla continues to expand the number of groups she is working with. 

Ruth Osano, a contact of hers in the remote area of Nyakach, has recently become very active in moulding and installing the jikos.

Domitilla’s husband is very enthusiastic about the use of vetiver grass.  This has resulted in vetiver nurseries being established in the places where women have been moulding liners.

13Sep/11

Newsletter: Autumn 2011

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thanks for the encouraging start to South Sudan as a new nation and that Roger and Jos have been able to contribute to many of the organizations working there
  • Prayer for peace along the northern frontier and that REAP may be able to be able to become more proactive it its own right within South Sudan
  • Praise for God’s continued blessing on REAP’s work, particularly in the growing demand for REAP’s teaching and enthusiasm to implement it

More Awards

In August REAP retained Kisumu Show trophies for the Best Small Stand and Best Non-governmental Organization.  This year we also won the Best Jua Kali Stand award for the windmill power generator, displayed in conjunction with ‘Access Wind’.  

REAP also had a display of natural medicines at the Maseno Agricultural Training School Open Day which offered further contact with farmers.

Natural Medicine teaching continues to draw the greatest interest, with many people contacting the Nairobi office via our web site or Anamed links.

In spite of the unusually dry weather Artemisia plants have been multiplied successfully on the REAP plot.  There is now a considerable plantation at the bottom of the land where the water table is high.

South Sudan

In July Roger and Jos were able to make an historic visit to Mundri, South Sudan, to join with Jos’s relations in the Independence of their country.

Many contacts were able to be re-established with the Mundri people.

Roger was encouraged by what has already been achieved in the run up to Independence and challenged to know how best to be involved in the longer term.

He continues to be on the Across board and to have significant input on various committees, including The World Gospel Mission and SIM, offering different types of advice.

New Challenges

Jos (in orange) is honouring the Commissioner of Mundri during the Independence Celebrations.

REAP has a growing demand for teaching but is unable to meet it due to a lack of resources to take more people on board.

The unpredictability of the weather has continued to stimulate thought about climate change issues.

The successful use of mulch on the REAP plot has dramatically demonstrated its value.  Vetiver hedging, which continues to provide a valuable means to conserve soil and water in its own right, can also be used to supply dried grass for mulching.

Combining such links as these, to demonstrate the holistic nature of farming on small plots and make the best use of resources, continues to stimulate REAP’s teaching.

The ongoing problem of how pass on this teaching, with limited resources, to those who can most benefit, remains a constant challenge to REAP.

21Jul/11

Newsletter: Summer 2011

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thanks for increased good working relations with other NGOs, especially recent links with the Inter Christian Fellowship Evangelical Mission (IcFEM)
  • Prayer that possibilities for extending REAP’s teaching into new areas of Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan come to fruition
  • Praise for God’s continued blessing on REAP’s work, especially on Environmental Stewardship teaching, in spite of economic constraints

Kisumu Land Developed

The transformation of REAP’s land, to exhibit it’s teaching put into practice, is beginning to attract many visitors.

Three vetiver hedges are now well established; these are already retaining up to 18 inches of soil.

Timber (Grevillea) trees have been planted round three sides and a variety of fruit and medicinal trees now grow throughout the plot.

Three ‘5F Hedges’ and one Tithonia hedge divide the land into smaller plots, which include a vetiver nursery, an example of ‘Farming God’s Way’ (using mulching), moringa experimentally grown close-spaced and managed as tea, an example of a medicinal garden, traditional medicinal plants under scientific research, and prunus africana (tea used to manage prostate problems).  Roselle and sweet potatoes fill areas not yet allocated for more specific use.

Natural Medicines

Planting of Artemesia among our contacts has suffered from the particularly harsh dry season, so there has been a concerted effort to replenish it.

Cassia alata, lemon grass, aloe and roselle have also been in huge demand.

Two one week training courses on Natural Medicine in June have been well received.

REAP’s new medicinal garden at Kajulu, Kisumu

The land at Kajulu has enabled REAP to bury potted plants, mulched over, at the nearby Kisumu Show ground. This improves the display and reduces the time required in watering.

Teaching at the Show this year will also include a simple windmill charger, nursery school equipment and personal hygiene products.

Sam gets on his bike!

Sam and his son, showing the heavy mulching that protects the soil from hot sun and heavy rain

Sam has been able to distribute vetiver grass plants more widely this year by using his motorcycle.

REAP’s new vetiver nursery also will enable more plants to be given out at the Kisumu Show, where the use of vetiver to conserve soil generally attracts a great deal of  interest.

Stoves Update

Three women Domitilla has trained have now extended the fuel efficient stoves teaching in their home area.

Domilla also trained another 20 women at Kililili, which included instruction on mould making, and 20 women at the Mary Ward Centre in Karen.

29Mar/11

Newsletter: Winter 2011

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thanks for South Sudan’s peaceful referendum in January
  • Prayer for wisdom in committing to the many challenging opportunities following South Sudan’s future independence in July.
  • For future funding; Help a Child Africa is now administered from REK in Holland and this makes training opportunities, which have provided funds, difficult to arrange.

The Plot Thickens!

Reap’s plot of land at Kisumu is looking good, now demarcated by both tree and grass hedges.  The medicinal garden that was laid out in January has already taken shape.  Having water on site has been a great blessing as it has enabled George to keep the land well watered.

REAP hopes to use the plot to demonstrate the principles of Conservation Agriculture (by using deep mulch).  For this purpose George attended Care of Creation training last November, and is keen to put what he has learnt into practice.

The erection of a building on the upper part of the land, that could form part of the whole farm environment, is being given serious consideration. This would cater for training small groups as well as provide some volunteer accommodation.  A large kitchen could be used for the preparation of ointments as well as cooking!

 

Stoves News

Domitila has been busy developing new leaders who are able to make the green liners for local groups of women, so they can install the fuel efficient stoves into their kitchens.

One of these contacts is Ruth Osano, whose husband is a bishop with African Israel Church Nineveh, and who has become very committed to REAP’s stewardship teaching.

These unfired stoves are easily made from local clay and provide almost smoke free cooking using little fuel.

In late March Domitila will be training 25 women at Kimilili, near Mount Elgon.  This will incorporate our associate, Charles, training technicians to make another 10 moulds, so that many more liners can be made.

 

Other Opportunities

Once the rains are underway Sam plans to activate the sharing of vetiver grass plants by several enthusiastic growers with many interested parties, including the Ministry of Agriculture.

Although Easter Tree Planting has not yet been taken on as a National Event, opportunities continue for its promotion through churches. Ann has been promised seedlings by a health insurance provider to promote tree planting in schools.

George’s quarterly visit to Pokot to follow up his goat training provides a receptive audience for wider REAP teaching.

Tear Fund in Kenya have already booked 10 places on our Natural Medicines Seminar in June.

Later in June, at the Maseno Agricultural Training Centre one day show, we will be focusing on encouraging the growth of Artemisia, whilst also having our usual planting material of Roselle, Aloe, Moringa and Vetiver available.

 

08Jul/10

The REAP plot in Kajulu near Kisumu

Photo of REAP Plot

On 15 June 2010 REAP completed the purchase of a plot of land in Kajulu, just outside Kisumu in western Kenya. The final payment was made and the title deed is in the name of REAP. The land will be used as a place where we can give practical teaching, showing practically many aspects of what we teach, as well as developing new ideas and as a source of planting materials.
The plot extends from just left of the big tree – the border is the sugar cane which is in the next plot – to the line that goes from the building on the right just in front of the bananas.

The back boundary is a path/dirt road that passes behind the house on the right and in front of the hedge in front of the house in the middle. The front boundary is a stream which passes just beyond the maize field in the foreground.

This land is sloping so has proved ideal for demonstrating the use of vetiver grass on the contours. It has a stream along the bottom and a pool just beside the tree so has good water for agricultural use. We have dug a fish pond which is stocked with Tilapia fish, but otherwise we are focusing on plants. It was cleared land when we took it over but we have converted it with hedges and other trees to become a very different sustainable piece of land.

The Vetiver hedges across the land have meant that the soil is protected from erosion. In the first 18 months since the hedges were planted up to 2 feet of soil has been caught by the hedges leading to terraces developing. Most of the plants we encourage and the ideas we teach have been incorporated into the farm, and we have established seed trees and planting material so that visitors can go home with not only new ideas but relevant planting materials.