A farm for the orphans in Nigeria: I have previously described the meals that are given to the children at the orphanage we support in Nigeria, but here it is again as a recap:
Gruel every day, with one egg on alternate days (4 eggs per week per child)
LUNCH & SUPPER: Grain based every day, with meat or fish three times in the week.
The cost for three meals a day is $1.50 per child or $60 per month. To put that in perspective, the cost to prepare the average public school lunch in the United States runs from $2.40 to $3.10, depending on the area and the level of school. A child at the orphanage is being fed three times a day for about one half the cost of one school lunch in the United States.
It is very difficult to set up a sponsorship program, and for many years I have been leery of setting up a per child monthly program for anything we have done. Yet I have started to look at doing just that to help the children at the orphanage. Why? Because the food budget is currently not being met, and the children have not been getting the eggs, meat or fish for weeks at a time.
Before I could develop a program to aid with the food, I received a proposal from the camp director to help rent two hectares of land and obtain supplies for a small farm for the older children to plant and grow some of their own food. (Two hectares is five acres.) The budget came to 2.5 million Naira or $7,500 USD.
What the $7,500 will cover:
1. Land: Rent of two hectares for one year
• Manure: 20 bags of fouls’ droppings
• Fertilizer: NPK 25 bags and Urea 15 bags
• Herbicides: 20 bottles
• Hoes: small and big for planting, weeding and cultivating. Small hoes 30, and big ones 20.
2. Crops to plant: maize, soya beans, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and groundnut.
• Quantity: 50 measures of maize grain, 20 measures of soya beans, 2 measures of groundnut, 2 bags of Irish potatoes seedlings, 2 bags of sweet potatoes seedlings.
3. Hiring of land and transportation logistics.
4. Storage facility
I prayed about participation in this brand-new program that is currently not in the ministry budget. There was no way to contact supporters in advance because the planting season begins soon.
The Lord gave me peace in my prayers that this was indeed an opportunity that He had presented to serve His children. I immediately wired the funds to Nigeria.
A farm of this size cannot feed the 87 children that are currently in the orphanage. But the farm will do more than supply some of the needed food. The children will be learning not only farming, but about responsibility for their own welfare. Farming will teach important lessons to the children that they would have learned at home with a father and mother.
But they are not at home; they are in an orphanage. We must now pray that their small farm will not be invaded by the Muslim Fulani Herdsmen, who often run their cattle onto Christian farms.
Funds will still be needed to assist with the daily cost of $1.50 per child for gruel, grain-based meals, and some protein every other day or so. At this point I am not ready to take on the entire meal budget for the orphanage, as funds are not available. But I do want to send some funds now to make sure the protein is added to the meals, as this is a must for growing children.
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