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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.

28Jun/10

Newsletter: Summer 2010

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thanks for the successful purchase of land near Kisumu, after a lengthy time of search and negotiation
  • Prayer for safety in travel as many of REAP’s workers have to endure difficult and frequently dangerous circumstances
  • Praise that REAP has been able to benefit from many recent talented visitors who have helped produce ingenious cost effective practical ways in which Africa’s rural poor are able to improve their standard of living

REAP successfully acquires much needed plot of land at Kisumu

After many frustrating delays REAP has been able to purchase suitable land that meets all their agricultural requirements as well as offering the future possibility of accommodating a teaching centre.

On 15th June, after visiting the land with a surveyor, transferring money to the landowner at a bank, verification by an advocate and signing of many forms, the title deed was at last acquired.

REAP team members with those involved in the purchase at the plot

David Craig, an agriculturalist with REAP at Kisumu, is now working alongside Rosalia and George, who are local to this property, in planning out its future use.

Enthusiasm in REAP’s teaching continues to grow

Domitila was initially discouraged when fuel saving stoves, not as effective as the design REAP promotes, gained external funding and were installed in many homes.  However because they were difficult to use they ended up as items of storage rather than to cook with!

Emma shows her work to a Dutch teacher

This failure has ignited local enthusiasm in REAP’s stoves, which are appropriate to local needs. Domitila has since been inundated with requests for teaching how to build the REAP model.  Many women she previously trained in their use have requested refresher courses so they can effectively pass on their expertise.
One place that REAP has recently displayed teaching has been at Maseno University where ‘Women and Climate Change’ seminar was being hosted.
Along with REAP’s usual teaching, Emma Craig was able to exhibit her work showing the ‘recycled’ material teaching resources that she has been working on.
Emma’s ingenuity in developing low cost materials for use in schools has been greatly welcomed by those in the teaching profession.

REAP benefits from visitor’s contributions
Short termer Suzie Henderson has been working with Domitila on expanding the REAP range of beauty products and cosmetics, whilst her boyfriend, Harry, has been doing useful work on urban agriculture and making windmills to generate electricity.

28Jun/10

Newsletter: Spring 2010

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thanks that Help a Child Africa are extremely interested in REAP’s work and would like to help take it forward
  • The REAP team has been very encouraged by the amount of people who will be visiting their work this year
  • Please pray for safety in travel for all who are involved in REAP, especially for the those who need to cover large distances in often difficult circumstances

David and Emma enhance REAP team

David and Emma Craig will be working with Action Partners – Pioneers for the next year. They joined the REAP team in Kisumu, Kenya, last month.


David has experience in agriculture and mission. He shares Dr Roger Sharland’s holistic vision to teach Africa’s rural poor to help themselves by using locally
available resources. Emma is keen to become involved working with children.

David has fitted well into the REAP team in Kisumu, where Rosalia and Samuel are based and REAP regularly exhibits at the Kisumu Show ground. It is hoped that
REAP will soon acquire some land in this area to enable more rapid reproduction of planting materials and offer a site for further projects.

pic

To follow David and Emma’s experiences during their time with REAP, please blog: http://africraigs.travellerspoint.com

Consolidating teaching

REAP has recently taken the opportunity to focus on following up the many contacts who have been faithfully passing on REAP’s teaching.


Whilst awaiting external funding REAP has found the strategy of maintaining and encouraging the people already committed to passing on REAP’s ideas very useful.

Almost all REAP’s trained contacts have been visited in the last few months and their teaching has been reinforced and affirmed.

Lots of contacts have been supplied with natural medicine sources from the Nairobi office, including several groups in Sudan.

It has been an encouragement to REAP to find that their existing projects have dramatically changed lives and brought dignity to those who are now able to be fully functional in supporting their families.

Joys of a new season

Rains have started early this year and look promising.


Samuel has already been able to take vetiver grass to many new areas. Growing a vetiver hedge at the borders of plots enables soil to be retained rather than eroded away, allowing the plot to become very much more productive.

Last year’s exceptional dry weather has left many without Artemisia planting materials, so George has been very busy multiplying and distributing cuttings. He has been encouraged by a new contact near Lake Victoria, who is in a good position to supply Artemisia to a much larger area.

REAP encourages Artemisia plants to be grown by the rural poor. When grown outside homes the plants will deter mosquitoes from entering, If anyone does suffer from malaria, Artemisia tea will provide an immediate supply of effective treatment.