A huge praise and shout out to The One who brings the rain because it's been raining in Southern Ethiopia. Word on the street, er blogger networks, is that it was raining there. So, I contacted our FOVC Director and he confirmed that it has been raining in the South. According to Desalegn, the widows and farmers took the opportunity to plant their seeds. All of our widows have planted the seeds which FOVC provided.
How about that!?!?!?
Besides the training that I've tried to provide, FOVC is doing a hand full of things with the widows. I'll bullet point a few things and if you want to know more specifics, please ask.
- All widows were provided seeds from FOVC. The one picture I saw a few months back was Pioneer seed corn bags being handed out. They also received teff, sorghum, beans, and pea seeds along with fertilizer.
- Drought means that crops don't grow, which means people don't have food. It also means that harvesting seeds for the next crop decreases as well. Supply and Demand tells us with decreased supply and normal demand, prices go up. These women who are in desperate situations, before they were impacted by drought, continue to face unrelenting poverty.
- While they received enough rain to get crops planted, it is important that they also get timely rains to grow and mature a crop. I'm hoping to hear back from Desalegn about the amount of rain they have received.
- I do not know the number of widows who received assistance so far through the crops program. I"m guessing it for sure includes the 8 widows we trained and quite possibly more. The number is directly related to the amount of money we have raised for the crops program. To those who've given, you are changing the lives of women who are most certainly grateful. As we continue to move forward with an ever-growing program, I am working to ask more questions and get more answers to share with each of you.
- The widows received some training from the local agriculture officials at no cost to FOVC. This is an area that I'd like to pursue more of. It's important for the widows to be trained locally in ways they can grasp and understand.
- No one has used the seeder. In my conversation with the Director, it is too time consuming to use the seeder. At first I was offended by this. It takes longer to do it with the seeder. But I know it's also more beneficial. It's that odd balance of western ways and traditional methods. I just want to pull my hair out thinking they aren't willing to change. While it might be partly that, it's also legitimate concern. They traditionally plant into rough ground that isn't leveled off. Some broadcast seed, while others cover it. Using the seeder requires smooth ground which is hard and time consuming labor. For quite some time, my creative and inspiring husband, has been telling me we need to get them something like a harrow, that will help smooth the ground out. He has it all figured out in his mind on how to make it locally and I'm excited for him to do that on his next trip.
- We wrote an agreement for the purchase of oxen to plow the fields. I have not heard if any were purchased. And by saying I have not heard, what I really mean is I have not thought to ask! My fault.
With writing down a few things, I'm realizing that I haven't asked near enough questions for clarification. I get so focused on my one question and don't think of anything else I guess. I also know that we have a long road ahead of us to make necessary improvements. These people are a joy to serve. I best start doing a better job of serving! We're thinking about a late September trip. This would be beneficial on multiple levels. It would give more time for Dr. Jo to grow stronger. By September, the missionary veterinarians should be back in Soddo and we should be able to meet with them. Plus, by September, those going on the trip would have more time to fundraise for their personal expenses.
I long to be in Ethiopia a month from now. It's funny that though we never purchased tickets (cause they were crazy high), I have this sense of wanting to be there. And needing to be there. I want to check in on my widows, including a certain special few ladies. I want to play with the kids. I want to see the school where two special little boys attend. I want to encourage my Ethiopian friends at FOVC. But it's not about me. So, I will wait, pray, and prepare.