Canadians CAN Grow Bananas

Banana_tree_with_green_bananas 3620180810_65c3b84d1c_z

“It was reported today that a Canadian Farmer has triumphantly grown over 2000 banana trees with great success!”

The full story should read that the Canadian Farmer stood around watching as some banana tree starts were planted in Ethiopia, producing large bunches of bananas about 7 months later.

The bananas were started in a greenhouse, grown to 3-4 inches and then transplanted to a “milk jug” size pot for 3 months.  When they were 40 centimeters tall, with 2 broad leaves, they were transplanted again into the ground.  Banana roots need porous soil, so a red ash was added to the hole to provide drainage.  The stock or trunk will grow to about 2 meters tall, 3-4 large broad leaves, producing one large stalk or two smaller stalks that die and fall and are replaced with a new “trunk” coming from the roots.  The total life span of a banana root is about 6-7 years, producing about 10-12 stalks of bananas each weighing in at approximately 25 kg.  The fallen “trunk” can be chopped and fed to animals or removed to a composting pile.

This fast growing highly productive plant has a huge appetite for water, nitrogen, phosphate and minerals.  The root system is immense.  Our banana trees will be flood irrigated, with fertilizers in the water.

Come to Ethiopia, and I will let you taste a fresh banana!

Spring Into Sponsorship

???????????????????????????????Many folks ask us the question, “Does sponsorship help a child?”  Well, let me tell you that I believe it does wholeheartedly.  We personally have several sponsor children and the reason that I chose to sponsor with Blessing the Children was the quality of the program.  I saw starving children getting meals, being helped out with clothing and shoes even before they were in the program and staff who genuinely cared about the children.

I have watched the Blessing the Children program grow over the last six years of being a part of it.  Did you know you have an open invitation to visit your child with Blessing the Children?  Did yoimg_1064u know that you can send gifts and letters as often as you like?  Did you know this program runs completely threw University?  Did you know that Blessing the Children runs a training program to help the sponsored families establish a sustainable income?

Have you always wanted to go to Africa but were hesitant because of not knowing the culture, language and how to get around.  Blessing the Children provides a skilled Social Worker to be your translator and tour guide until you feel at ease to get around.  They also explain the culture and reasons you should or should not do certain things; like taking pictures of the local military or close by the local military, right Sonia?!

Here are a few quotes from some of sponsors:

I was thrilled to get to meet my child first hand.  All the money that we give goes to Ethiopia and helps the child and helps pay for quality staff in Ethiopia. – Peggy

I was amazed at how much help is given to the child and how much food they get and the quality education they receive at the school. -Sheila

I want to sponsor a child that I know receives the majority of my money.  I like the fact that Blessing the Children runs foster homes and not an orphanage.  I know Rick and Sheila personally and I trust them. – Linda

Blessing the Children is a registered charity with the government of Canada. The charitable number is 835486853RR0001.  You can go on the charities directorate and find our financial information.

If you would be interested in contacting us about sponsoring a child please send an email to info@blessingthechildren.ca

 Amanda and Dibora

Will You Help Me?

 

10914817_10205909281237019_3653446133961713360_o

Meet Fitsum Girma. She is 5 years old and lives with her 3-year-old brother and both parents. She is unfortunately HIV positive, as well as both her parents. Providentially, her brother has not contracted the disease. Fitsum lives in a skeleton of a house. The house is in the process of being built, and the owner of the house allows them to stay, to be a sort of guard of the property. They live there rent free until the house is finished, at which point they either leave or pay the monthly rent. Her mother washes clothes as a living and her father works delivery. Neither job brings in enough money to sustain the family.

Fitsum also has a skin problem with her leg. She was taking an ointment for it, but has finished it. While she was on the medicine, she was doing better; but now her leg is getting bad again. Fitsum is currently completely unsponsored and needs $90/month to be fully sponsored. However, she may be sponsored by multiple people. Three people at $30/month or six people at $15/month. She needs sponsors. She needs medicine. She needs a place to stay when her home is finished.

Please consider what you can do to help Fitsum. Sponsorship will give her the needed medicines, provide her with monthly food supplies, and will allow her to go to school next year when she is old enough.

Contact Sheila Lamb at SLamb@blessingthechildren.ca for information on how to sponsor. Or go to www.blessingthechildren.ca and visit their donation page!10635825_10205909314837859_2636504709613988427_n  10945545_10205909311357772_7424866730699600594_n 10955206_10205909281157017_3056184887367027877_o

Mission Trips:Life-Changing Experience

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"] OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Ethiopia, Africa Impact Your Life, While Impacting Other’s Lives And You Will Never Be The Same!

You go to impact the lives of those less fortunate, but as many before you – You will find the impact in your own life to be just as great as the lives you touch. You’ll return different, broadened, stronger and with a renewed purpose and perspective in life.

Traveling to a third-world country is no picnic, but there’s little that compares with the rewarding experience of a mission trip. Your rich memories of the people, children, and culture will be with you for the rest of your life. Don’t miss this opportunity to minister from your heart in a uniquely personal way.

God’s not looking for capable hands, he’s looking for available ones.

If you are willing and able to go and serve, God will use you. If you don’t know your ministry gifts, or think you don’t have much to offer, come and discover all of the ways you can make a difference in the lives of others. Your verIMG_3083y presence is a gift; you may never know the full impact you are having in people’s lives until you get to heaven, but your life will be transformed in the process. No matter who you are, no matter what your gifting or abilities, you can make a difference!

 

 

BCC staff will be with you every step of the way. Experienced with the culture, we will serve as your guide – working with you to make your trip rewarding, fruitful and fulfilling. Since English is taught and spoken at the school, churches and guest houses, you’ll feel right at home and we have translators who will accompany you in the community.

There are hundreds of third-world countries you could choose to serve. Ethiopia has a unique culture and it is one of the two poorest countries in all of Africa. The greater the poverty, the greater your impact. Without a doubt, you will return more grateful than ever for America, for your own Christian heritage, and for the life-changing adventure you had because you heard and answered the call.

Our mission at Blessing the Children – Canada Inc. is to ensure that you and your team have a successful mission trip. Your team will work closely with a local church in Ethiopia, where you will form lasting one-on-one relationships, both socially and spiritually. And if your team returns for future trips, you will be able to continue OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdeveloping these relationships and see God work through you in their lives.

Family in need of new mattress and food for three boys

Meet Yakob, Yisik, and Mussie Dereje, three brothers who have one baby sister named Lydia. They live with their mom and dad who are both HIV+ in the 2 room house pictured above. The kids are not HIV+. Yakob is fully sponsored however the other two are only partially sponsored. The kids have been in the program for 7 years except for Mussie as he has been a program kid for 2 years.

When Mussie grows older he wants to be an engineer and Yakob wants to be a doctor. Yisik didn’t have an answer at the time. They are all attending BCI Academy and currently are preparing for a week of final exams. A normal weekend for them is spent washing clothes and attending their church, Meserete Kristos (the downtown branch). Monday through Friday they go to school, read, study, and play with their friends. They like going to church, playing and walking with their friends in their spare time. If they ever traveled to another country Yakob says he would miss his friends, Yisik says he would miss the shiro, and Mussie would miss dabo (bread). If the boys ever did get to travel to another country, Yisik says he would like to travel to Arab countries to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, while Yakob would like to go to America and Mussie would go to Canada both to see their sponsors.

On the summer break (coming up in two weeks), they plan on helping their mom, playing and visiting another village. When asked about their personality, character, and what makes them who they are, the boys took their time in thinking about their answer. Yisik says he likes playing but gets grumpy and cries sometimes. He likes that he can keep peace with his friends as much as he can but doesn’t like that he gets angry at times with them. Yakob says he is tolerant to a point but when he reaches his breaking point, it takes a long time for him to calm down. He likes to pray and is a clever student. Mussie likes playing and that’s all we got from him on the subject.

Yisik, Mussie, and Yakob
in order from left to right


They would tell their sponsors to pray for them, that they always pray for them and they miss them. They would like you to pray for their education. Yakob is in grade 4 and is 10 years old, Yisik is in grade 6 and is 12 years old, and Mussie is in grade 1 at 7 years old. As for their favorite subject, Yakob’s favorite subject is science, Yisik likes math, and Mussie enjoys Amharic. The boys find studying the English language hard, whether it is Spoken English or English Grammar.

Currently the family could use a new mattress for the boys to sleep on as they have and are outgrowing their current one that all three boys share. The price for a large mattress is roughly 1800 birr or about $50 CDN. The mom also mentioned they needed teff to make injera and for one month for a family that size, the estimate cost for the purchase of teff is between 400-500 birr or $25-$30 CDN. If you would like to help deliver these items so the family gets all they have asked for, please contact our office at info@blessingthechildren.ca

Two siblings struggle with adult concerns living on their own.

IMG_2500Eighteen year old Gemechu Eyasu, a grade 12 student at the only  school for 11-12th graders in Debre Zeyit called preparatory school, while better off than he and his sister had been, is struggling to survive livin a hard life in Ethiopia. He and his sister, Merkitu, age 14 and a grade 9 student at Bishoftu Secondary School, live together on their own without any family to help them. The two kids lost their family some time ago and have lived in Debre Zeyit the past seven years. They do have an older sister who is not that involved at 20 years old and who left to marry at 19. Before entering BCI’s program, the kids were totally on their own without any sponsorship or missionaries helping them have the place they live at now. Gemechu is partia lly sponsored and the two kids are in need of more people willing to share their finances.

IMG_2502IMG_2503

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gemechu is studying hard preparing for the national exam for entrance to a university of the Ethiopian government’s choice. You must get good marks (like all A’s in our grading system in the west) in all the core subjects or you don’t get to go to university. Habeshas do not get to choose which school they go to like you can in America as the government is different with less freedoms and programs. He thought of studying medicine but now he wants to be an engineer. Merkitu wants to go into medicine. With both students fastly approaching university, current needs aside from adult concerns like monthly rent and food cost include school needs like paper, writing utensils, and a laptop for university classes.

When not in school, Gemechu likes spending time with his friends, reading, and watching movies. Over the la st summer break, he spent his time teaching 3-4 kids not in school and is a leader in his church’s fellowship program. The kids do their own laundry on the weekends, clean the house, and Merkitu makes injera. Both kids attend church regularly as they are believers in Jesus Christ. When asked their favorite bible verse or a verse that gets them through, Gemechu said his likes 1 and 2 Timothy and Merkitu’s favorite is Ecclesiates 9:11: “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

Is God tugging on your heart to sponsor Gemechu or Merkitu Eyasu? To be fully sponsored Gemechu only needs one person to step up with $30 a month. If He’s calling you to provide, sign up to make your donation at www.blessingthechildren.ca/donate. These great kids thank you in advance and pray God blesses you and that He is with you. They pray for you that you live a happy life. 

Ethiopian and Canadian cows are the same except….Part 2

The milk production is less from an Ethiopian cow that produces approximately 20 liters a day average; 2/3 of what a Canadian cow will produce. An Ethiopian Holstein is about ¾ the size of a Canadian Holstein. The smaller stomach leads to less production. The feed is good but still not as good as are prepared Canadian feed. We are not being paid for the cream or fat content in the milk. We are paid on a per liter basis. This will change as soon as we get a cream separator. We also milk by hand which is not a way to maximize production. We look forward to the day when we can purchase a machine that will milk; but other than that cows are the same except…….
In Ethiopia cows are a status symbol, a show of wealth, not a tool to obtain cash flow. This leads to bad management where old cows are kept beyond their productive life and a poorer breeding program. Bull calves are not castrated or fed out for slaughter as soon as possible. The cowboys have not seen the necessity of taking the horns off at birth, therefore injuries happen. I have seen too many cows with horn scares on their sides because of the head boss cow putting the underlings in their place. These same cowboys insist that a newborn calf can be cold in sunny Ethiopia. They want to cover them up in a warm barn with dirty straw infested with disease. I am still trying to educate them that is it the damp, dirty straw and the closed in area without air circulation that makes them cold and sick. I need to video a calf being born in the -20 winter wind of Southern Alberta with snow on the ground to show them the durability of a newborn calf; cows are the same everywhere except…..
The breeding program is free range. There is little thought about trying to improve the gene pool. When a bull and cow are free with no fences it is unreasonable to have a breeding program; each farmer will have 3-4 bulls or cows and a couple of calves in tow!! Our dairy cows will be artificially inseminated from top producing bulls from Europe; so all cows are the same except…..
Our Ethiopian milk cows will give as much milk over 6-7 lactations or milking cycles as a Canadian cow does in 3-4 lactations. An Ethiopian milk cow cannot be pushed as hard due to feed, management and labor issues. The weather in Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia is 25 c degree days, 15 c nights, 365 days a year.
See I told you all the cows are the same.

Dairy Cow are the Same Except……

In Ethiopia, all cows have the same standard features as Canadian cows. 4 legs, teeth in the front, tail in the back and the udder in the middle the same as in Canada; with the exception of……
In Ethiopia cows get lumpy skin disease; a very contagious virus that causes the skin to have hard lumps or golf balls under the skin. If not caught early enough lesions will form throughout the mouth and respiratory tract. Fortunately, there is a vaccine if detected early. Cows are the same except….
An Ethiopian beef cow is fed free range; eating grass, weeds, leaves, whatever they can find as they walk five miles a day. No wonder the cow is 3-5 years old before slaughtering time arrives and only 400 kg. They have no fat which leads to very tough meat.
Ethiopian dairy cows are chained up under a tin roof for protection against the sun and rain. Our barn has no walls leading to a cooler, drier environment. The diet consists of banana trees, chopped of course, sugar cane byproducts, beer grain byproduct, proper minerals, teff straw, which is similar to a wheat straw, a green grass hay, and a corn silage.
I didn’t know what a banana tree or bush or shrub was until I saw them myself. After the stalk of bananas are picked, the tree “trunk” falls down but a new shoot or “trunk” grows up from the roots, producing another stalk in approximately 8 months. The fallen down “trunk” is chopped and fed to cattle. Stay tuned for next week when we will talk further about cow differences.

Abreham Tesfaye

Meet Abreham Tesafaye and his mom.

Mom is sick.  She may not look it, but she is awaiting her 2nd surgery since her son’s arrival for a uterine tumor.  Time is running out.  Without a miraculous healing from the Lord, she is in dire need of this surgery that could save her life.  Her doctor gives her 3 months until surgery before it grows.

But how will she pay for it on an income of 100 birr per month that she gets from washing clothes?  Her rent is 400 birr for the small place they do have.  And when her child’s father walked out on them neglecting his responsibilities as father and provider?

You would think her thoughts would be of herself, but her thoughts are on her son.

Who will take care of him should she not get this surgery?  Family is far away; they are unavailable.  Will he become another orphan, another photo, another child in Ethiopia that has fallen through the cracks?

We hope and pray for God’s provision for this family.  Abreham is new to the BCI program and is in need of sponsorship so he can go to school – a chance for education, food, clothing, and a growing knowledge of God’s hope for his future as the family comes from the Orthodox faith (believers in Mary and a priest), not yet believers in Jesus Christ.

Are you willing to sponsor this child or donate toward this mom’s surgery?  For $30 CDN

Abreham and his mom
Abreham and his mom

per month, Abreham can start school at BCI Academy.  If you sponsor a child through BCI, the organization not only allows but encourages packages to be sent for the child and visits are always welcomed.

Give the Gift of Hope in the New Year

Life used to be normal and full of joy for Beselote’s family. He was blessed with a happy family, a father who provides and a mother that cares and dotes on her children. But one day life turned upside down when his father, former military personnel, was arrested on a suspicion of wrong doing. With his father gone, the only source of income dried up for the family and life begins to spiral out of control for Beselote’s mother and her four children. Like many other Ethiopian women, Beselote’s mother never worked outside the home; yet the full burden of providing and caring for the children fell on her. As the family struggles to survive with no income, they fall on the mercy of relatives and friends. While able to provide a modicum of relief to this burdened family, Beselote’s relatives and friends struggle to provide for their own families as well. This is when Blessing the Children found Beselote and his family.

Beselote Degu

Beselote Degu

 

 

You may ask yourself why you should choose to sponsor with Blessing the Children.  I would love to share with you my own personnel reasons for choosing to sponsor with them.

  1. Your entire donation is sent to Ethiopia.  We have first hand experience at seeing what a few dollars can do to change the life of child, therefore we choose to fund raise for office expenses over and above our sponsorships of $30, $60 and $90.
  2. It is one of the most excellent programs I have been involved with.  The children get lots of food, soap, vitamins, oil, school uniforms, school supplies, and schooling paid for.  They also receive medical attention when they are sick.  Of course with each sponsorship level chosen the children gets a few more benefits.  We start with making sure their bellies are full and they are able to attend school.
  3. We try to facilitate times when you are able to send a “special gift” for your sponsor child.  At this time we are working on sending a container and sponsor can send a “backpack” full of goodies for their children.  It is such a joy to see the happy faces on the Ethiopian end of sponsorship!
  4. We are constantly checking on your children and trying to make sure they are safe, well cared for and healthy!  We have several social workers that are checking on them once a month.
  5. Our goal is to try and send a sponsorship letter to you once a month.  It is a lot of hard work and the children don’t always understand why they have to send this difficult English letter to you but with time and training they are realizing it is the duty of one who is receiving the privilege of being sponsored.
  6. You have the potential to meet your sponsor child face to face if you travel with us to Ethiopia.  You can spend time one on one and see they reality of the living situations that exist.

Biruk Degu, older brother also looking for a sponsorship

Biruk Degu, older brother also looking for a sponsorship

 

  Beselote needs a full sponsor to join the child sponsorship program and begin receiving support.  If you are interested in this child or have in mind another one you can phone Ronnie at (403) 393-4159 or email SLamb@blessingthechildren.ca  You have the ability to change a child’s life!

 

 

Beselote and Biruk