Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crops Update

Where do I start?

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.  
So, where do we go from here?

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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things are a Changin'

Well, we've still not had our official chat with board members, Dave and Lory or Jo, but it sounds like the June trip is for sure on hold. That saddens me and gives me joy. Sad because I look forward to going. Joy that maybe this summer we'll spend a few days somewhere together - all 5 of us.

In the last few weeks I've been doing a lot of praying and not a lot of "work" for FOVC. But, here and there I've been doing a few things. One is updating the puzzle to show you how much of the puzzle is sold and how much is left. I'm still not ready to post pics of that. Fitting solid color pieces together takes organization which is a fun challenge. There are still 49 pieces left. For anyone who buys more than 5 pieces, I will send you one of these domino necklace made and donated by Nicole:

The other thing I've been working on is new necklaces. Off and on all day I worked on finishing up some partially completed necklaces. Don't stop by my house and see how little I cleaned today while I was beading, but do stop by the necklace page and check out what I added today. Here's a sneak peak at one of the new ones:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ethiopian Coffee/Tea Party

Today I had a tea party with Bethany using my Ethiopian coffee decantur and cups. Check out the pics and her cuteness on my home blog

Saturday, April 14, 2012


If you know half as much as I know about FOVC, the organization we volunteer with in Ethiopia, you'll know that they're doing lots of cool things. Providing sponsorship to children with Ingrid's wonderful leadership, giving medical care to children and staff, providing clean and accessible water to communities, and giving hope to widows are just a few of the things. But it doesn't function without the effort and support of volunteers. Or without people like you sharing about FOVC.

Thank you to each of you who has played your part in serving the needy in Southern Ethiopia.

With all the areas of work that FOVC is involved in, and the many hands that participate, in my view, it is critical that we pray for the leadership of FOVC. As Ryan and I plan a return trip to Ethiopia in June, it's not without much thought, communication, and prayer. It's not about us. It's about doing what's best for the people benefitting from FOVC's services. We are considering postponing our June trip. This hasn't been 100% decided but it's looking more likely.

While I greatly anticipated a June trip on many levels, it's not about me. Postponing the trip would allow more time for logistical things to fall into place. We are grateful for the many, many people who've partnered with us financially but we still have a lot to raise. We'd also love to see the bee project happen so more time would allow for that. More time would also allow for Ryan to work with FOVC on hiring a veterinarian and setting up a community outreach.

Whether we go in June or October, we will continue to ask God for His wisdom in moving forward.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


It's been almost 2 years since we brought Judah home. On Friday Ryan mentioned to me about being ready to pursue adoption again. Our hearts are open.

Oh Lord, you have given us a heart for the orphans and the widows. Would you continue to bring light to this path you have us journeying on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Domino Necklace

My sweet friend, Nicole, is making me a domino necklace with a picture of this sweet boy on it. Isn't he precious?!?!?! Thanks Nic!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where There is No Comfort

I read a short and well written book today called "Where There is No Comfort" by Juliann Trai. She went to Southern Ethiopia with an organization called International Crisis Aid with the intent of sharing their story. She shared well in her 80 page book about the seven days she was in Ethiopia. Many of her experiences were things we experienced on our first trip. And when I googled the town that ICA is working, it was about 40 minutes from Shanto where we work with FOVC. For those in the Holt adoption world, it was pretty much smack dab between Durame and Hossanna.

I love how this book told the story but didn't drag out the details. I love how it captivates you and makes you want to know more. I love how you get the picture of what ICA's mission is like. Reading the book and looking at the pictures made me want to put my experiences with FOVC down in a more detailed and specific space. While I've kept up this blog and my awesome hubby had it printed for me, there's not a specific place where you can get an overview of it all. I should do that.

If you're interested in reading more of her book, it can be found on amazon. The cost of the book was the only bad part about it. Except that it's not truly BAD. It's just more than I like to pay for a book. Granted, I'm guessing, yes guessing, that part of the proceeds go back to the ICA ministry.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Help me Help Kaight Help FOVC

Wow, that's about a tongue twister, isn't it?

My friend Kate and her husband, Rob, have hearts like mine. She desires to help keep families together in Southern Ethiopia and is partnering with FOVC. They desired to raise enough money to dig a new well in one of FOVC's communities AND to raise money to bring more widows into the crops program. Friends, Kaight and Rob are well [pun intended] on their way to meeting their goal. As of this morning, Rob and Kaight's efforts have raised $10,246.

The first $10,000 goes towards digging a new well. The next $5,000 of their goal goes towards the crops for widows program. I have no doubt that my friends will meet their goal. After all the first $10k was raised in 47 days. I'm so excited to see people believe in and support FOVC. I'm so thankful for how they're partnering with FOVC to raise awareness and funds. There's another important component to all of this.

It's more than raising a ton of money and throwing it at needy people. FOVC's programs continue to flourish with the assistance of people who care to get involved. To train, educate, and give hope to communities where they have none of those things. People like me. People like Ryan. We're partnering with FOVC to bring that training, education and support. But, we can't do it alone. While we volunteer our time and talents, our financial talents do get limited.

Ryan can treat all the FOVC livestock and outreach into the community to treat their livestock as well. I can teach the widows various management and cropping techniques to help them grow food during a drought, etc. But both of our efforts come with a financial cost as well. We're average people with an average income. Travelling to Ethiopia twice a year doesn't come without a cost. So, today I humbly ask you to help us as we help Kaight as she desire to help FOVC.

If you're willing to donate $5, $10, or $100, you can mail us a check or donate online here

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lottery Winner

My friend Shiloh just posted this on facebook:

Who bought one of those tickets for the multi million dollar lottery last week?? How about investing in something you have 100% chance of winning in?? Help my friend Tamara and her hubby get to Shanto, Ethiopia. Your money will help them teach widows farming, which gives them the ability to feed their families!! So, a 100% chance of your money benefitting someone OR a one in 176 million chance of winning??? Go here and donate $5, $10, or $100 today!!! And hey, it's a tax deduction!


Thanks Shiloh for the encouragement and support. You're absolutely right. Giving towards our trip is a 100% guaranteed win in helping women keep their families together.

MY plans (highlight to see the print since I can't manage to fix it)

Maybe I haven't shared much about what my plans are for the June trip. I have a lot planned and am hoping to get it all done but I know it’s a lot. My three main things are:

1. Check in on my widows I’ve trained in the past, provide some additional training.

2. Set up a drip irrigation system and water collection basin by installing gutters on the metal roofs of the orphanage and school buildings.

3. Check in on a site donated for widows to grow coffee trees. It’s the best coffee growing area. This one I’m not really sure what I’m doing yet because I know NOTHING about growing coffee trees.

The other things I hope to do include:

1. Meet with the local ag specialists and get my ladies into a formal training program.

2. Identify some leaders of my existing ladies who will train others in the community.

3. Learn more from locals about their existing bee keeping practices.

And of course, I’ll love on the kids, chase them around and play soccer pretending to be much younger than I am. I’ll drink some STRONG coffee, and listen to traditional singing before they drag me into the circle to dance with them. I’ll hang out with the doc while she checks kids over and follow Ryan around while he checks on the livestock. It will be exhausting but worth every ounce of energy and every penny.