Category Archives: Newsletter

16Oct/09

REAP Newsletter: Autumn 2009

Three out of Three!

REAP has won the top prize for each category that they entered at the Kisumu Show this year.

Untitled-1REAP came first in Best Small Trade Stand, Best NGO and Best stand in Environmental Management. The first two had been won in previous years but the third was particularly noteworthy since it was competing with large well resourced organizations.

Cries of “unfair” overruled

When the winners were announced there was a protest and in the evening a delegation from the organizers checked on whether the awards had been fairly allocated.
When they were taken round the stand and REAP’s environmental emphasis was clearly explained they were left in no doubt that the award was well deserved.

Using Rubbish

Representatives from the stands that came second and third in Environmental Management also visited the REAP stand and confirmed they were fairly beaten.

Untitled-2What clinched the decision was a display of rubbish, as seen on so many streets, from which the environmental hazards were pointed out. Then REAP had displayed how the rubbish could be reused. Items such as bottles, plastic bags and bottle tops were shown as valuable resources for much of REAP’s teaching.

Ropes for Plastic Bags

One method of recycling that REAP has found to have particular appeal has been the making of ropes from plastic supermarket bags.

Another example is the use of 2 litre plastic bottles. These can be used for spraying animals or for hand washing.

Natural medicines is the other major teaching of REAP that is achieving huge interest at the moment. Many people have suffered from the very dry first half of the year, but REAP has still managed to supply plants to those who need them.

Vetiver grass hedges that have been established in most places where REAP has contacts are showing their benefit in erosion control and water conservation.

Below, Wilamina, Domitilla and Margaret are making a mattress out of old plastic supermarket bags.

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PRAYER POINTS

  • For a new source of income to replace the Samaritan’s Purse Grant that came to an end this year.
  • For those who have suffered from the lack of rains in Kenya where the draught has had devastating consequences.
  • For the swift completion of acquiring a plot of land that REAP has found near Kisumu.
  • Praise for the public success of many of REAP’s ideas.
20Aug/09

Newsletter: Summer 2009

Vetiver Grass gains ground!

newsletter3The recent heavy rainfall, following an unusually dry season, has brought huge amounts of soil down the slopes. A lot of small farmers have found that the quality of their soil has been severely depleted.

However, this was good news for REAP worker George, because he had planted a hedge of vetiver grass round his land.

Fellow farmers had seen how hard George worked taking extra cuttings of Artemisia when the long dry season caused many source plants to flower early.

Then the heavy rain swept soil down the hillside from the plots higher up the slope, but George’s vetiver hedge stopped it going any further and buried all his cuttings under a foot of silt.

George’s anxious neighbours came round to commiserate, because they could see his hard labour had been destroyed. This gave him an ideal opportunity to assure them of how pleased he was to have gained so much fertile soil – a far more valuable asset!

Sam has been very active this year in planting out more vetiver grass nurseries, so there is enough to plant significant contour hedges on a number of farms.

Taking a stand at the Kakamega Show

This year REAP had a small stand at the Kakamega Show which was held at the end of May.

This was mainly manned by REAP contact people from Western Province, assisted by REAP staff!

The stand was much smaller than the one at Kisumu so it just focused on Natural Medicines, but still stimulated a lot of interest and established good contacts.

Indian Christians helped

The week of training for eight people from Help a Child India at Ukweli Pastoral Centre near Kisumu was an encouragement to all.

REAP’s teaching on natural medicines was almost all new to them and they were very keen to learn the Biblical perspective.  Local churches also found encouragement as they had only known Hindu and Muslim Asians!

Nairobi office becomes an information hub

newsletter2REAP’s Nairobi office is a busy place… a constant stream of  people come to discuss natural medicines and buy literature, whilst it’s small nursery to the rear has recently supplied plants to Sudan and India as well as to different groups in Kenya.

PRAYER POINTS

Thanks that interest in REAP teaching is expanding so that demand for workshops is greater than can be met by the present number of staff.

For insights into how REAP can focus more effectively on teaching against materialism, which often inhibits the effectiveness of spreading REAP’s teaching.

For another year of success at the Kisum Show in August.  The extended garden area is now proving to be a good nursery resource, although further land is needed and obstacles to the purchase of land need to be overcome swiftly.

25Mar/09

Newsletter: Spring 2009

REAP Training

REAP staff constantly try to follow up and encourage people who have been the most active in implementing REAP’s sustainable concepts.

REAPGeorge will be shortly returning to West Pokot to follow up a recent natural medicines seminar with more detailed super-vision of applying the methods.
In May a training session will focus on the most enthusiastic women who have adopted REAP’s ideas. This is important so that experiences may be shared, learning can be endorsed, new teaching added and the message encouraged to be spread more widely.

REAP

REAP Ideas go to India

Moving ahead to Help a Child in India
Following successful teaching in the Help the Child in Africa seminar that REAP hosted last December, eight or nine Indian representatives, from their India branch, will be coming to Nairobi for training on natural medicines the week after Easter.

REAPMany African natural medicines can successfully be grown in other parts of the world as well, so the experiences of REAP can be beneficially shared with other nationalities.

This equally applies to many of REAP’s soil conservation methods, agricultural initiatives, recycling ideas and the efficient use of natural resources freely available to the rural poor.

Spreading the word via Agricultural Shows

REAP’s outstanding success in recent years at the Kisumu Show has proved an effective public relations tool to extend sustainable concepts.
This year REAP have extended their plot at the Kisumu Show ground. This has two important functions:

  • The plot development has a vital role to play in displaying growing examples of the promoted plants to those attending the show itself, which is held each August.
  • The REAP office and grounds at the show have also become a valuable centre for much of its on-going training throughout the whole year, both locally and nationally.

REAPREAP will once more have a table and demonstration on the MU stand at the Kakamega Show this year.

At right, REAP’s newly extended plot at Kisumu.

PRAYER POINTS

  • The recent fall in the value of sterling means a 15% drop in the value of donations from the UK – please pray that this shortfall is made up.
  • Praise that Roger’s team continue to have many opportunities to teach REAP’s ideas to a willing and responsive community of rural African poor and that new ideas are being implemented with beneficial results
  • That Roger obtains appropriate consultancy opportunities which take REAP’s vision forward and replace the Samaritan’s Purse grant that finishes in July
10Feb/09

Newsletter: Winter 2009

Encouragements in the work

The last few months have been busy and full of interest. In September Roger spent two weeks in Tanzania with the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in Dodoma.  Having helped them plan their present Food Security programme in 2007, the development team had requested World Relief Canada to enable me to return for two weeks training.  This was particularly encouraging as it was to train in the area where my heart is, namely on Biblical stewardship as the basis of sustainable agriculture.

We had two weeks with the development team, including two days with the board members and some senior church leaders, looking at what the Bible says about our relationship to God’s creation and how this affects our response.  We also looked strategically at the great potential the church has to motivate people.  This is a message we keep working with in REAP though for many it is a slow one, so the response from DCT was particularly encouraging.

At the beginning of December I was also asked to spend a day sharing the same basic message at the Africa wide conference of Help a Child Africa (HACA) at which we had participants from 11 African countries as well as Netherlands, Australia and India!  Once again the message stimulated interest and much positive discussion, and confirmed that we are on the right line.

news0109bMeanwhile down in western Kenya the team have been continuing to encourage churches to respond to the teaching.  The last visit I made was particularly encouraging as we visited places where those we have trained are beginning to make a real difference in their area.  It was particularly good to visit two areas where the demand for vetiver grass is so great that they have set aside a specific area themseleves for a fairly large nursery so that the grass can be reproduced for distribution in the local area.  The fact that this was initiated locally and our staff have then helped them establish the nursery keeps ownership with the local people and is a good sign for the continuing spread of the grass and more important for the protection of the soil that the grass enables.

Natural Medicines continue as a major focus

Natural Medicines continue to be very central to the work of REAP and we are getting more and more demand for teaching.  We had a very encouraging training workshop bringing together twenty people for the basic training.  Three of these have done a significant amount with us in the past but never been able to attend a formal workshop, but most of the rest are new contacts, so the message will spread to new areas and through new churches.  The responsive atmosphere throughout the training was particularly encouraging.  We always ask those we invite to remember to bring a Bible.  They often think this is strange when they are expecting to come to a technical workshop, but at the end the response was very positive in how the Bible teaching will help them communicate to others.

Visits to Sudan

Both Roger and Jos visited Sudan in October for the annual Cush Consultation held in Yei.  As we were very involved in the organisation of the consultation this year it was a tiring time for us but the response was very positive.  It brought together a cross section of people involved in Christian work in Sudan and we were particularly pleased to have more from the Christian NGOs working in Sudan.  The interaction was very positive, although the challenges are very great as the population of the south comes to terms with the realities of the post-war situation and the church seeks to deal with many of the negative aspects that have come into society as a result of the war.

Jos was able to stay on in Sudan after the consultation and visit family and friends in both Juba and Mundri.  She had two weeks in Mundri and as well as catching up with her family she was also able to share her vision of developing a Christian school in Mundri with local leaders.  The process is slow but she came back encouraged and enthused.  She has been able to share both her vision and her concerns more clearly with many since her return to Nairobi.

Prayer Pointers

  • We praise God that as we come to the beginning of 2009 we are in peace.
  • We praise God for the very positive response we have had to our teaching over the last few months.
  • Please pray for all the staff that they will be encouraged as they are involved in sharing our REAP teaching.
  • Please pray for all those we have trained as they take the messages into their home churches and communities. May God encourage them.
  • Please pray for our involvement in Sudan, that God will give us wisdom on how to be positive in the difficult situation of emerging from war.
  • Please pray for the busy training schedule we have over the next few months. We will have a number of training workshops on Natural Medicine both in Kenya and Sudan.
12Sep/08

Newsletter: Autumn 2008

REAP Workshops

Another series of workshops are planned in November to establish new church contacts. This will be a chance to bring more people on board.The starting point will be Natural Medicines but the Biblical basis of stewardship, and all that implies, will be incorporated throughout the training.

Roger in Tanzania

At the beginning of September Roger is traveling to Dodoma in Tanzania on behalf of World Relief Canada (their equivalent of Tearfund). REAP’s work is very much in line with what they hope to achieve.

Roger will be revising the work plan for the Diocese of Central Tanganyika development program as regards food security and the environment.

He will follow this with a week of training, relating to the outcomes, including two days with pastors and church workers on the Biblical basis of good stewardship.

Another good year at the Kisumu Show

The Reap team had a very successful week at their Kisumu Show stand and garden again this year. They came back with two trophies and a second place.

The second place was for Best Stand in Environmental Management, for which they were particularly pleased to have beaten many of the “big boys”, including the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

The Kisumu Show has proved to be an ideal platform to promote Reap’s many concepts, which enable Africa’s poor to improve their standard of living by more efficiently using recourses that are readily available to them.

PRAYER POINTS

  • That the vision of REAP’s work will continue to spread throughout the continent of Africa and enable many more people to live more productively and comfortably.
  • Thanks that Roger’s recent involvement in strategic planning for ACROSS in Sudan has been successful.
  • In October the annual Cush consultation will be held in Sudan, which brings together the Christian NGOs, missions and churches. Both Roger and Jos are on the facilitating committee, which Roger chairs. Please pray for faith to result in changes in lives.
Roger’s GardenAbove is an aloe vera plant. When broken off the leaves ooze sap, which is a soothing healer if applied immediately after a burn, so it is very valuable when grown near to where cooking is done.
Vetiver grass
The picture above shows moringa leaves drying. They are an extremely efficient source of nutrients and when dried can be easily stored and added to the family meal. Over the last few years the introduction and cultivation of moringa trees has been a major focus of REAP.
Planting trees
Rosalia with a fireless cooker at the show. The cooker enables slow cooking to continue and will also keep food warm.