We are eager to share with you that on Sunday, Feb 17, a team of 5 women left for Ethiopia. Majority of them will be staying two weeks. As the team is out, many of them first-timers, please consider praying for safe travels, for health, and that their eyes would be open to the things of the Lord. Much of their time will be spent with the moms and kids of the program, doing home visits, and seeing the particulars of what Blessing the Children through Blessing the Children Development Organization is doing in the community of Bishoftu. We are excited to witness how God will challenge these women! We greatly appreciate your prayers!
“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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Have you ever wondered what use libraries are now that we have internet, e-books, computers, tablets, cell phones and numerous other ways of receiving data? Well, they may not be in vogue here in Canada, but we sure have need for them in the third world!
BCI Academy is one of the only schools in Debre Zeyit to have encyclopedias. We are grateful to the many generous donors who gave books, time, money and manpower to pack up the books, get them shipped, meet the pallet in Ethiopia, help books to arrive at the school, unpack the books, catalogue the books and label them, get the books on the shelves in proper sections, and then got to experience the excitement of the children who anxiously awaited the time they could use the books.
These books will help the students at BCI Academy be able to do research, practice their English, learn responsibility, and have their world enlightened and broadened. We also have a new librarian who is working very hard to get everything ready! We are excited to be able to share the world of books with the children. Thank you again for your part in making this happen.