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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Did you know a chicken lays an egg every 24-30 hours?

Farming education is a critical part of raising our children at Project Canaan.
Five years ago I met a man named Chad Gregory who is the CEO of the United Egg Producers in the US.  Chad invited me to speak at an International Egg Commission conference in Venice, Italy (I said yes).  While there we met egg farmers from all over the world, including a bunch of fellow Canadians.  Tim Lambert (CEO Egg Farmers of Canada) was one of those men and next thing we knew the Canadian egg farmers were visiting Project Canaan and learning about Swaziland, AIDS, orphans and the crisis that we are facing.

Tim Lambert (CEO Egg Farmers of Canada, Steve Manton (Chairman International Egg Foundation), Chad Gregory (CEO United Egg Producers),  Gene Gregory (Former CEO UEP), Peter Clark (Chairman Egg Farmers of Canada),                  Ian Maxwell (CEO Heart for Africa).   
With each visit they became more and more immersed in learning about the culture, the challenges and hopelessness of so many Swazi people. They were even with me when I got the call about picking up a baby at the Woman’s Prison, and went with me to receive that child.  That child was Baby Shirley, and the Egg Farmers of Canada were the ones holding her in the back seat of my car as we drove her home to Project Canaan, burns and all.   That was the day they truly saw the Project Canaan was a place of hope, and there was hope for the baby girl whose mother tried to kill her by burning her.

They made a commitment to do something, and they are men of their word.

On January 4th, 2016, a flock of 2,500 chickens arrived in to a barn that the Egg Farmers of Canada, in partnership with the International Egg Foundation, built.  They have ordered a second flock of 2,500 chickens, which will arrive in July to the second barn they also built.  That means we will have just under 5,000 eggs, every single day, “with no off switch” as we are told.  Did you know that a chicken lays an egg every 24-30 hours? Now you do.

Did you know that brown chickens lay brown eggs?  And that hens "sing"?
As you likely know, Ian and I know nothing about chickens or eggs, and the egg farmers knew that, so help arrived a few days before the chickens did.  Kurt Siemens, a Canadian egg farmer from Manitoba and Aaron Law, a Canadian egg farmer from New Brunswick, came in January and got the flock in place, feed supply rolling and continued the training that our team had already begun with the largest egg producer in Swaziland and the eggs started to arrive. Kurt was here for 10 days and Aaron stayed on for the whole month!

We currently feed 2,100 children every week through our 30 church partner-feeding programs.  Starting on Monday these children will receive a hard-boiled, PEELED, egg with every meal they get from us.  This will not only help with the issue of malnutrition, but also help providing the perfect protein and assist with the uptake of vaccinations (which is critical to the health of every child).  The egg farmers, thanks to Chad and his friends at UEP, even bought us a new truck so that we can deliver eggs, Manna Pack and maize from Project Canaan to the most remote parts of Swaziland. 

John with Julian Madeley (International Egg Foundation and Worldwide Egg Organization)

Aaron Law, Julian Madeley (CEO World Egg Organization), Dr. Abdul Magdy (Bio-security expert from Lohmann)          Ian and our big kids.
We have also partnered with a local hospital to provide two eggs every day to every child in the pediatric ward.  Many of them suffer from malnutrition and getting a “high protein” diet costs extra money. Now they will not have to pay for that extra protein, it will be free, and they will get well faster.

First delivery of eggs to the hospital CEO and CMO.
God is good. He knows what we need, when we need it and we see His hand of provision over and over again as he sends people, expertise, equipment and funding, in His timing.

In addition to the organizations listed above I would like to also publicly thank the Big Dutchman in South Africa, Sonovo Technolgy Group in Denmark, Lohmann in Uganda and Eagles Nest in Swaziland for donation equipment, expertise, time and money.  This is truly and international project and we are thankful for everyone involved.

I am writing this blog on the roadside just before I cross out of Swaziland in to South Africa.  I am heading back to the US for five days for meetings, a few favorite meals and to see Spencer!  Can’t wait (not excited about the snow storm that I am hearing about).

Live from Swaziland … we live in a constant state of awe (that’s Ian’s favorite quote).


This peacock came and sat beside me while I finished my blog. Too funny.

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