Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Doing a monthly report back means thinking back and trying to capture all that is happening. It is always a case of: ” can so much be happening simultaneously? and if so why are we not seeing more physical and tangible results? “
Well there is always a lot of unseen background work! The report started slowly as I had been spammed with four hundred comments from various dubious websites! Rather than simply deleting them all I worked through them in case one of you had posted something encouraging!
We don’t always see the Lord’s plan immediately (or ever) or understand why but have to just keep on trying. Following a difficult month, with many distractions, we headed off to meet the community leaders at their request. We collected a number of flow bins (IBC totes) that had been donated on the way. This is something that I have been waiting for , for quite a while now and thank you Lord for providing!
When accepting donations and funds it is a challenge to demonstrate how we have used them . Sometimes it is not in line with the thinking that they were given for in the first place. A lack of noticeable return on investment or a time lag, leaves us anxious. We really want the donors to share in the successes and see where their funds have gone!
The Lord’s timing
The Lord has the timing on the project! And it is perfect but we do try rush it in our human weakness.
Let us wind back a little. A month or so ago the suspension on my bakkie or “pick up” for our international supporters, gave in. I had planned to deliver some furniture to my nephew in Tshipise. It meant a period without a vehicle and a slowing in various subprojects that we had on the burner. A gap arose on the 16th June . I set off for the Limpopo only to “cook” my engine on the highway. This meant I spent several un-wasted hours sitting with Tshwane Metro. It was actually a pleasant suprise. Once I returned home I was hammered by a very bad flu. This left me feeling very frustrated in not having been able to visit the CradleArk! Having so many unfinished sub projects also stresses me.
This weekend whilst driving to the CradleArk, we passed obvious signs of demonstrations. There were rocks next to the roads and signs of fires. Apparently there had been a triple “Muti murder” . Three young women had been killed and mutilated. The community had demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the police. The community had also apprehended and dealt with one perpetrator. This had all happened whilst the various hurdles had kept us safely out of the area at home! I cannot help feeling that the Lord was looking out for us over this time. ‘
More farming support
We have been fortunate enough for a local farmer to offer some of his time. He will assist with the farming project and the teaching and training of staff with a hands on approach. We are looking forward to showing him around to share ideas and get some constructive criticism too. I have not discussed releasing his name but it will follow if he agrees.
Other exciting developments- the compost heap
So what has been happening and why are we so motivated and excited? The chicken project has been launched ! A lot of work done on the fields, including the planting of the winter seed. The removal of the earlier harvests left overs were added to the compost heap.
The compost pile is starting to look impressive! We hope that at least some of it will break down before spring. It has taken a while to get the buy in of the team. Once the farmworkers see they can sell the compost back to the farm, the momentum should build. This could even become a stand alone business? We would also love to put a lot of the thin wattle through a wood chipper. If anyone knows of a machine for loan or hire in the area , please let me know.
The chicken(s) come home to roost
Matthew started with building a coop and has just one chicken!
Matthew together with Elias and Shadrack asked if they could use some of the materials we had . The next thing a coop had been built.
One of our supporters from Bloemfontein, Shirley, has bought Matthew, Shadrack and Elias , 5 more chickens from the funds she donated!
The chicken team is also negotiating with Samson for some of the dry mielies to use as feed. This again is another possible cash flow stream for the field and the development of symbiotic businesses?
Jesta’s Restaurant- “Wavhudi”
“Wavhudi”- Meaning “Good things from God!”
Jesta’s restaurant is growing steadily and we look forward to the launch. (Planned for the 16th of July?) This is exciting for the community on several fronts. This developmen shows what can be done with effort and initiative. It will provide a service for the area and potentially employ people from the community.
The project has already provided employment and has been in the making for some time.
The developing restaurant will focus the efforts of other sub projects. It is a close and steady market for produce. An expanding menu would mean additional requirements which could then re-direct efforts!
The impact of the project is also a learning curve for all and will lead to entrenching basic business principles.
Some of the pallets we received have been used for the manufacture of benches at the new restaurant
We have supplied Jesta with a couple of cases of Switch and three legs of Impala. This will help with the launch of his restaurant. May it be a great success.
He is currently looking to employ two people from the CradleArk but the take up has been disappointing. We only hope that some of the younger members can be inspired by the project and learn from it.
More community developments
We had a very successful meeting with members of the community committee who have not approached us directly before. This is exciting because it means that we are starting to get the buy in of the wider community.
The discussions hinged around availability of electricity and patching of some of the roofs on houses.
Ed and I tried to realistically explain the difficulties, costs and logistics of providing an electrical point. We tried to focus on alternative , greener solutions. 3 more sets of solar lights we had promised will be delivered soon. Load-shedding has slowed this delivery.
We assist with the work but require the individual to do the work as far as possible. If there is learning and skill sharing through the process, all the better.
The flowbins (IBC totes) which will allow us to dabble in toilets, biogas and several other projects. God is just great the way he provides! There is a particular interest from the community in the gas as the winter eats up the wood supplies.
Finally a young lady (Esmeralda?) is interested in running a hair salon and barbershop. With time she would like to expand into other products like nails and eyelashes. At last someone has shown a real interest in this idea. We will be allocating some of our time and resources to getting her up and running!
If you are excited and drawn towards any of these projects please feel free to contact me!