Last November’s four day seminar to train twenty key contact people in REAP’s holistic methods has inspired much activity as participants have keenly put their newly honed skills into practice.
Thanks to funding from Spring Harvest, REAP was able to gather together twenty key people from various locations in northwest Kenya.
The seminar focused on how to become good stewards of God’s creation. As a result of four day’s intensive training the delegates have since enthusiastically shared practical help with less fortunate farmers who live in their communities.
This teaching took place at Ukweli, close to REAP’s Kajulu garden plot, so the delegates were able to benefit from witnessing REAP concepts already being put to use.
Seminar attendees dig up clumps of vetiver grass from the REAP farm, to start a new nursery at the Ukweli Centre
When REAP is not holding seminars on behalf of other organizations or within supporting churches, participants often require funding.
REAP’s only limitation in spreading news of proven, low cost, methods that vastly improve the lives of the poor is funding.
The full cost of bringing together a group of twenty committed rural leaders for four days of intensive training is £3,000. Sometimes churches and individuals are able to contribute to their own attendance, but often delegate sponsorship is needed.
Kajulu plot with proposed new building in the bottom left hand corner, close to the road
REAP’s plans to develop the Kajulu land by erecting an eco-friendly and cost-effective demonstration, training and resource centre, await final permission from local authorities.
This building will enable non-residential training for visitors throughout the year.
REAP staff are currently locating paths to enable the plot to be toured logically. The farm and building will clearly demonstrate to visitors diverse methods of soil conservation, farming, mulching, natural medicine, recycling and domestic ideas that are being used.
Pray for the development of REAP’s seminar program and necessary funding to sponsor delegates from the poorest communities
Praise for the encouragement of seeing many REAP’s ideas put into practice to improve the life’s of Africa’s poor
Prayer that REAP will shortly obtain written final approval for building the much needed Demonstration and Resource Centre on REAP’s Kajulu land.
Once again we have entered December and Christmas will soon be here. Let us start by wishing you a very Happy Christmas and God’s blessing in 2013.
We look forward to celebrating as a family this time of year when we remember God’s wonderful gift to us, and how Jesus humbled himself to come and live amongst us.
Emmanuel and Grace and Naomi will be with us for Christmas, before proceeding to England for their ‘home assignment’, having just finished their time in Yei with Across. Grace and Naomi have been with us for a couple of weeks now and we have enjoyed spending time with them, and getting to know our granddaughter as a person. At 2½ she is full of energy.
Since getting back from England at the end of August we have had a busy time and have been seeking to fit in many different things. We had a good time in England in the summer, and enjoyed watching the Olympics on TV, as well as catching up with many people.
Encouragement in the work
Our work in REAP has been continuing to attract interest and spread slowly, though over the last year or so we have been rather restricted by lack of funds. We have not been able to reach out as much as we would have liked but this has also meant we have been able to develop the plot near Kisumu so that it is a very positive place to teach from.
Over the last few months we have been consolidating our teaching so that we can more effectively offer it to others. We continue to focus on the three core areas of sustainable agriculture, teaching through women’s fellowships and Natural medicines. We now have clear packages of teaching on each of these, and have been able to link the practical teaching clearly with spiritual teaching from the Bible. This holistic approach sometimes makes it difficult for us to attract the funding we need to expand, as so many see the spiritual aspect that we see as central, as being a diversion!
In November we had a grant to run a workshop on the Biblical approach to agriculture. We had 20 of our keenest contact people together for five days and were able to positively consolidate the teaching. One thing that we have been able to work on well this year has been getting Vetiver Grass out to many more people through encouraging small nurseries on many farms. This is something that is now a major focus of our extension work.
We have also been able to continue to do some teaching for others with Rosalia and George teaching in Pokot, and Domitilla teaching on stoves in South Sudan, both this last month.
Visits to South Sudan
2012 is the 40th anniversary of Across. While we were in UK it was wonderful to meet up with so many former Across friends for the day celebration in August at ‘All Nations’. In September both of us were able to travel to Juba for the celebrations there. It was a time of giving thanks to God for all he has done through Across and also an opportunity to look ahead.
The Executive Director of Across is not extending his contract after the end of the year, and so effectively left the work at the end of October to spend time with his family in Australia before returning to a new ministry in Juba. As one of the board members based in Nairobi, Roger has as a result been spending quite a bit of time in the Across office in this transition period. An interim ED has been found for a period from January 2013, which should reduce the time input needed.
Roger also made a visit to Leer in Unity State for an evaluation of a Community Midwives Training School with the Presbyterian Church. It was good to visit a new part of South Sudan and, as well as looking at the project there, to be able to get a feel of the development of the new nation from a remote part.
Jos was hoping to visit Mundri in November to move forward her vision for starting a nursery school near our home. She has some funding to start building and was hoping to get things started. However, her eyes have been giving her trouble and she had a cataract operation in one eye at the beginning of November, and since the eye is very dry it is taking time to heal. So she is now hoping to go in the new year.
We are looking forward to catching up with Manny when he joins the rest of his family here next week. They have finished their time with Across, and are looking to the way God is leading them in the future, probably in further sports ministry in South Sudan. They are still with Pioneers.
While we were in England in July and August we were able to catch up with Jenny and Tich. Since we came back to Kenya, they have moved to our house in Reading and both of them have new jobs, which build on their experience and lead more towards their career expectations.
Becca continues to enjoy being at Braeside School in Nairobi and is preparing for her IGCSEs next summer. This is an important year for her, and she does not find it easy to commit herself to study.
· We continue praise God for the new country of South Sudan.
· Please pray for Roger’s continued input into Across, and for wisdom for the board in appointing a new Executive Director.
· Please also pray for Jos’s vision for a nursery school in Mundri, and for the resources to take it forward.
· Please pray that we may find more resources for the work of REAP, so that we can continue to move out with our teaching and build on our vision.
· Please pray that as we continue to found our practical teaching on Biblical teaching, others may pick up the vision of the importance of taking Biblical teaching into every aspect of life.
· Please pray for Manny and Grace as they seek the right way forward for their ministry.
· Please pray for Kenya at this time of build up towards the elections. The elections are in March and politics is central to all discussions and news. There is apprehension after the violence following the elections five years ago. Please pray especially that Christians will stand firm and that faith will be seen in action
We very much appreciate all the interest in our work and the prayer and other support. We are at this stage very much looking for more financial resources for our work. If anyone has links with trusts or foundations that may be able to support our work, we would love to hear from you.
With love in Christ,
Roger, Jos and Becca (Sharland)
Fish pond surrounded and strengthened by Vetiver grass
REAP continues to improve its garden at Kajulu. The fish pond, in the lowest water-logged part of the garden, has produced its first harvest! Vetiver grass has been planted all round to help maintain the stability of the structure. Leucaena trees and sweet potato vines have also been planted around the pond to enable a sustainable source of fish food.
The brother of Pastor Simon, who is assisting in promoting Vetiver planting in Kajulu, is active in promoting fish ponds in the area. He has included planting vetiver to reinforce the ponds into his own teaching.
The Artemisia plot is providing plenty of medicine for malaria. REAP is now investigating how best to harvest larger plots to maximize quality.
The permanent displays of trees, natural medicines and traditional medicinal plants are all thriving.
Opening up drainage ditches, use of water and the best ways of developing the land are under consideration.
George, Rosalia and Domitilla marking out the rough position for the planned building
REAP plans to erect a demonstration, training and resource centre that is eco-friendly and cost-effective. This would provide a much needed location for teaching seminars and accommodation, whilst having many working examples of REAP’s concepts readily at hand.
Rosalia is checking approval required for a building on peri-urban land. The draft plan can then be finalized as a technical drawing. Septic tank positioning is the chief point of interest to local authorities. For the present time a standard VIP latrine is being erected to facilitate the needs of the builders.
George will supervise the project as he has experience with a number of building projects. Domitilla’s husband is a building foreman and Roger also has experience of building in Sudan.
It would be ideal to have a model example of Domitilla’s teaching on improved rural kitchens on the site. It is proposed that a store/watchman structure, with poles, tin roof and mud walls, would be desirable during the building work and could be adapted later for this purpose.
Care for the Earth
Whilst sharing information with Care for the Earth and others, REAP encourages passing on the ideas they have adopted.
Farmers who started an Artemisia nursery at Care for the Earth centre, using mosquito netting as shade and protection
Praise God for the continued blessing of the Kijulu garden that clearly demonstrates REAP ideas. Also provision for the building work to proceed.
Thanks for granting Spring Harvest funding for a four day Stewardship Seminar to train twenty key contact people in REAP’s holistic teaching. Please pray that this will be significant in passing on REAP concepts to benefit the poor.
Prayer for sufficient funding to meet REAP’s day to day running expenses and to maintain the team of skilled and enthusiastic workers.
REAP has had many opportunities to display work relating to women.
At a May exhibition in Kisumu, Domitilla displayed kitchens and molding, and was featured in the Daily Nation.
Last March Anne, Rosalia and Wilimina displayed at an international conference in Nairobi, related to climate change, where they were personally encouraged by the Prime Minister’s wife.
Following contacts made through the Kisumu Show, Rosalia has been teaching at a number of conferences in Kenya on the role of women in the church and their potential for bringing change.
Artemisia and Moringa
Rosalia and Geroge joined Keith Lindsey of Anamed at a Natural Medicines training event in Butere. On a follow up visit in May, Roger was encouraged by the number of trainees who actively put their training into practice.
There have also been a growing stream of visitors through REAP’s Nairobi office, contact having been made via the internet. Particular interest has been shown in Moringa (for nutrition) and Artemisia (for malaria). It has been encouraging that REAP is now able to supply planting materials form the Kajulu garden.
Fredah Wabuko, from Butere in Western Province, is one of the most active people REAP has trained. She now both trains and treats people with natural medicines.
This picture shows how Fredah has made use of a small plot behind her house to grow a wide variety of natural medicines in a small area.
REAP’s garden in Kajulu, near Kisumu, continues to attract visitors (from five of the six continents!) In June thirty prison wardens visited, who hope to incorporate REAP teaching into the prisons!
The fish pond, in the lowest water-logged part of the garden, was stocked with 400 fingerlings in April. This displays how fish can be inexpensive to keep and a valuable resource for poor farmers.
The Vetiver grass planted at the Kejulu garden has dramatically shown its value in protecting soil from erosion. Up to two feet of soil have been collected above the grass hedges over eighteen months.
The nursery area for development of new useful plants is expanding. REAP has been able to share planting material with some community based projects in the Asembo area. We are now developing a strategy for disseminating new ideas.
Thanks for the many blessings of the Kajulu garden, which has become infinitely valuable to REAP’s work. Also that Rosalia has eventually been able to obtain the physical Title deed for the land, having persisted through various barriers!
Prayer for sufficient finance to be able to continue with the work, and to meet additional demands for REAP’s teaching.
Praise that REAP’s teaching is reaching an increasing number of people who are both embracing it and passing it on.
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.