Photo: Girls at our girls home enjoy nutritious meals which include many ingredients grown at our farmland and in our on-campus gardens.
Today we bring you an update from our farmland enterprise in India. In November we planted 4 acres of lentils, covering a portion of the space that we previously used as a rice farm. We were not able to plant for the rice harvest this year due to low-rain monsoons during the past 2 rainy seasons. In addition, local wells dried up in the area, and the government discontinued plans to build a canal to help the local farmers, both due to a lack of rain. The government water authorities were supposed to release water for the farmers’ fields, but they were unable to do so because there was no water in the dam.
Thus, our native team brilliantly improvised and planted lentils on our rice farm since lentil crops do not require as much rainfall to thrive. We expect to harvest 4.7 tons of lentils in February or March, which would give us a gross profit of $4,750. So far, we have invested just $182 into planting the lentil crop. We expect ongoing maintenance and harvest costs to be similarly low. This will provide for a very high net profit in savings realized from funds we would have otherwise spent at market for lentils required for our orphan home meals. At the end of this month we are also looking forward to a bountiful harvest of okra, eggplant, tomatoes, green chilies, and curry leaves which we recently planted in our rooftop box gardens.
The children enrolled at our on-campus primary school (ages 6-16) are currently preparing to take their final exams at the end of the month by diligently studying their native Telugu and Hindi languages, English, math, science, and social studies. They are also receiving after-school tutoring from our loving teachers to further prepare them for excellent final exam scores.
When the children are not hard at work studying, the boys have been relaxing by playing indoor games such as Carrom (a billiard-style tabletop game), chess, Ludo (a strategy board game), and Snakes and Ladders (an ancient Indian board game). They have also been enjoying outdoor sports such as volleyball, football, Cricket, Kabaddi (a popular, local contact team sport), and baseball. The boys are thankful for fresh-cooked meals to give them energy as they study and play, especially chicken, cauliflower, potatoes, and curries.
The girls have been enjoying their recreational time by reading and playing indoor games such as chess, Carrom, Ludo, and Snakes and Ladders. They have also been playing outdoor games together such as badminton, Kho Kho (a popular tag sport), and Kabaddi. The girls are also thankful for healthy meals to give them strength and health for studying and for playtime, especially chicken and okra.
To bless our children even more, our native team will have a Christmas party for the children at then end of this month where they will enjoy singing and dancing, and participating in friendly competitions of fun games and activities such as skipping, the Lemon and Spoon race, and Kho Kho. The children who win these games will receive prizes, but the ultimate goal is to promote good sportsmanship and a friendly spirit amongst the children, and to remind them to always encourage each other.
After the games and activities, the children will enjoy a delicious meal of Biryani (rice, Indian spices, vegetables, meat, eggs, yogurt, and dried fruits), drinks, ice cream, and fresh fruit. Our team also wants to give Christmas gifts to all of the children — we are seeking to raise $925 in order to purchase pens and lunch boxes, and purses for the girls. In addition, we are praying to raise $700 in order to also present the children with new jump ropes, throw rings, Cricket kits, volleyballs, and footballs to play with outside when they are on break from their studies.
Lastly, in early November we received permission from the Survey Department of the local government to begin construction on a new security wall around the recently acquired land, which is a little over one acre, and adjacent to our main campus where our new playground and athletic field are located. So far, 1/3 of the wall has been built at a height of 8 feet utilizing construction materials such as rocks, iron bars, cement, sand, water, and bricks. We are aiming for construction of the new security wall to be completed in 3-4 months.
This security improvement is much-needed due to many concerning security issues we have witnessed in the area over the years. We want our children to be happy and safe as they enjoy the new playground equipment and athletic field. Our field director reports: “All of our children are so happy about this new playground — they are playing freely because they have plenty of space. Whenever they enter into this new land, they feel so happy, excited, and play peacefully. They are doing well by the grace of God, and we also feel so happy when we see great joy on their faces. It is a wonderful experience that every day they are getting new strength by playing here. Their happiness has been doubled, and also their health is increasing. Thank God for this wonderful blessing for our children. All the glory to God.”
Take a Closer Look: view more photos from this project and others