John Mabeny Tuetang is a 9-year-old student in primary level 2 with 2 living parents. Here is what he says, “The food I eat in the school help me a lot because sometime if I go home from school I may not get anything cooked by my mother at home. My father is a soldier and he is not always at home. That is why I always come with my little brother to eat with me here in the school. We don’t have any at home.” It is such a blessing to know that other boys and girls like John can say the same thing that they receive good nutrition at school. Over time it is our goal that the community at large will have enough food for their families throughout the year.
It is difficult for us American to comprehend how difficult life is for the people of Akot, South Sudan. They have suffered through prolonged civil wars, recurrent tribal fighting, a lack of national infrastructure and a government that is struggling to survive. One of the most serious problems is the seemingly unending cycles of hunger and famine with its far-reaching negative effects on children’s growth and development and even survival. How can children learn when they are desperately hungry or how can parents plan for a better future when all they can think about is finding food for the next meal for their families?
Living Water Community Transformation (LWCT) has ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of the people of Akot for more than a decade through a Christian-based community development ministry. Most importantly we minister to provide eternal hope through the good news of Jesus Christ. But we also realize the importance of ministering to the physical needs of the community. Our aim is to one-day see a thriving, self-sustaining community that is free from the burden of hunger and disease.
Several years ago LWCT began an agricultural ministry to address the issue of hunger. This was made possible through the gifts of donors throughout North America. A 12-acre demonstration farm was created and is now beginning its third planting season. The purpose of the farm is not only to raise food, but to also teach the community how to grow more food and a larger variety of foods in their home gardens. A solar powered irrigation system was installed on 6 of the 12 acres in order to raise crops of fruits and vegetables during the long, hot dry season.
A 4-year agricultural curriculum is now taught in the primary schools so that future generations will have the knowledge and skills to raise a sufficient amount of food. We are also beginning to distribute simple bucket drip irrigation systems through the women’s ministry so that home gardens can be productive even during the dry season.
An abundant crop of peanuts this year has allowed us to provide an early morning snack of peanuts to supplement the school lunch. This extra source of protein has been most helpful in keeping the children healthy.
By Raymond Lyrene, MD
Need a Father’s Day gift idea? How about making a donation to LWCT in honor of your earthly father? That gift will bless your father, plus others who are in desperate need.