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Saturday, January 4, 2020

What's Up?

I don’t think I have ever wanted a year to end more than 2019.  Last year was a tough year, but also a great year with much being accomplished, but 2020 should be fun, so this blog is about what’s up for 2020.

Both beetroot and butternut squash are staples here in Eswatini and while we are still growing hundreds of thousands of beetroot plants for consumption and sale, we also just harvested enough butternut squash to last our kitchens a WHOLE YEAR (6,000kg/13,228lbs) and we are selling it too!  We have a large cold storage facility to store it in, and we are thrilled to be able to provide these products from our farm.

Ian is very excited about our new “worm pit”. Yes, you read that correctly.  We just built a concrete composter that is 12 yards wide x 6 yards long x 2 yards high.  It has four sections which will be filled with worms and compostable material from the kitchen and fields.  There are four sections so that our worms can move from one section to the next as we harvest the compost to use on our fields.  We will have a LOT of compost going on.  When we were telling our kids about this new project, Esther asked Ian, “How will you protect the worms from birds who want to eat them?” 

Excellent question Esther!  We are waiting for a cover to be made to put over the top and keep the worms safe from birds and sunlight and keep them focused on the job at hand. This important project helps get us one step closer to sustainability and eco-friendly.  A worm can procreate every week, producing up to six baby worms so we expect to have more than one hundred thousands worms by the end of 2020.  Did you know that worms are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female sex organs?  Oh the things we know now, that we NEVER thought we would need to know!

This year our construction department will be building a 3rd and 4th grade (two-storey/double class for both grades), and it will be constructed only during school breaks so that the kids aren’t going to school in a work site(!).  The plan is to have the foundation and floor pad poured and the work site cleaned up before the school year starts on January 18th.

Our construction team will also be building “Oasis 2”, which will eventually be a dining hall for our teenagers, but for the next few years will serve as a recreation center for our kids, and a place to receive oxygen for their minds, bodies and souls, which is why we affectionately call it “O2”.   Beside O2 we will build a home for disabled children. This will be a home for our most severely disabled children who will not likely be able to attend any kind of schooling due to the extreme and complicated nature of their disabilities.  And as soon as we raise the funds needed for the next Emseni dorm (E6 will be home to 40 children) we will start building it immediately as we have children who will need to move in to it by the end of 2020.

We received 42 babies last year for a total of 258 children (we average between 35-40 babies every year), so we would expect that trend to continue.  We are raising these children as our own, and so they have always done age-appropriate chores (including the 2-year-olds who clean up their toys before going in to eat and even take their own dirty diaper to the garbage can. While we have an exceptional team of cleaners who keep all of the buildings clean and healthy, we decided to have our older children (living in E4 and E5) learn how to clean and take care of their own house back in December.  As Ian and I do our morning walks around the farm we were encouraged by seeing both boys and girls learning how to mop the floor properly, hang out laundry and take pride in their home.  I cannot say enough about how INCREDIBLE our Caregiver team is.

The video below was taken this morning at an impromptu dance party at the Oasis. These kids just crack me up! I hope it makes you smile too.

I have no doubt that 2020 will have challenges of its own, for all of us. The world seems to becoming a crazier place with more instability every day. For those of us who are followers of Jesus, we must remember to keep our eyes Him, and Him alone.  Be prayerful in where you are to be and what you are to be doing, and have peace in the knowledge that Jesus is securely on the throne.

Live from Eswatini … Happy New Year!


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