Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Urban Grain Aid begins!

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Wednesday morning was the launch of the Urban Grain Aid program for our team here in Niger. With partnerships from CFGB, Alliance Women and Alliance churches, and work specials we have put together a program that links food aid with education on health, hygiene and other pertinent topics, as well as a strong focus on building relationships with the recipients as we spend time with them. Holistic teaching and Food Aid- hand in hand!

We were a little unsure what to expect this morning. Would we get tons of angry people from the surrounding area who wanted as well? Was the communication (done by our local partners) well done and people would arrive with their money and oil containers in hand, or would there still be confusion? Overall we were so thrilled with how well it went and how many opportunities we had to talk with people. God is good – all the time!

Paul and Youssouf Al-Farouk. Youssouf is an old man who helps guard the facility with his family who live in a hut across the street. Paul and him spend a good chunk of time together getting the facility ready, etc and they always have fun. He is hilarious and we love his whole family. Maybe they will adopt us!

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Just to recap quickly- we are targeting 60 poor households in our community. Their families will receive 100kg of millet and 4 packs of milk at well below market rates. They will also receive 10L of free oil. This program lasts 7 months and each month they can pick up their food.

Men start to arrive to pick up their food.

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There is something that really struck me today. We were able to help 60 families get access to food today. It is not a huge number, but we are so thankful for each and every one of these families. Every family received 100kg (220 pounds) of millet. Some of the sacks would leak out small kernels of millet. In this case below, maybe 1/4 cup of millet spilled onto the ground. The man put down the sack and carefully scraped up the millet- sand and all- into a little baggie. Every single kernel was precious. His 220 pounds was not enough to make him forget the value of a handful of kernels. I saw this happen 3 times this morning and each time they carefully gathered the handful that fell. Nothing is taken for granted. It was truly humbling.

Scraping the spilled millet carefully onto a bag to be used.GrainAidMar31websized049

Zeinaboo- volunteering with us the whole day to distribute the oil into containers.

And of course- how many hands does it take to open up a spout and pour out oil?

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The donkey carts begin to show up to take all the millet and oil and milk home.

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This donkey cart was loaded down with about 1200 pounds of food.

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Poor donkeys!

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The education portion

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Our April education sessions talk about hygiene, germs and hand washing. Many of them don’t understand WHY they get sick so often. Diarrhoea runs rampant and many children are seriously ill. Much of this could be improved if they would wash their hands and keep the flies off their food that just landed on their latrine! We also link biblical teaching on water and cleanliness. Many of the men invited us to come to their homes to teach their families the same thing! Praise God for open doors and open hearts!!

Below is Paul’s improved design for a tippi-tap hand washing stations. We talked about them to all the recipients today and starting next Wednesday we are giving one out to every family! Many thanks to those of you partnering with us to make these hand washing stations and soap a reality to give for free!

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We went through almost 600L of oil today. Since there is not a lot of nutrition in the diet of the poor, oil becomes very important. It is fortified and full of nutrients and amino acids to help make them stronger and healthier. GrainAidMar31websized055

Rebecca and I working. SO much fun to be able to work almost daily with Rebecca!

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Our pastor Shawn and his family are currently visiting in Niger (blog later about all that!) and it was a joy to show them the launch of this program. Shawn thought it would be fun to lift some of the sacks. Each sack weighs 220 pounds!GrainAidMar31websized052

We got grain!

Chantellemilletweb

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

60 families is amazing. If we can feed 1 that's special... so excited about the program. Good job - your hard work has benefited and saved lives. So proud of the work you are doing...Praise Jesus. heather