Posts Tagged ‘Food’

The Perspectives of an ICC Student Missionary: Naomi/El Salvador

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

One of our student missionaries in El Salvador sent me this letter concerning the torrential rains that occurred in El Salvador during October 2011. I thought I’d share her experience with you.

Noami with two chidren from ICC El Salvador

Naomi (center) who is a student missionary at ICC's project in El Salvador

“Last week [October 9–20, 2011] a terrible storm hit most of El Salvador [60 inches of rain]. Many people lost their homes, valuables, clothing, shelter and food. I joined the campus Pathfinder club and some ICC El Salvador staff to give out food and clothes in a nearby village.

Photo of a flooded road in El Salvador

Typical flooding from the October 2011 rains in El Salvador

“When we got to the church at which we were to volunteer, I saw such a long line of men, women and children! Practically everyone in that town had nothing left to their names. It was such a sad experience to see little kids with shorts on even thought the night had been cold and they each had hungry looks on their faces.

Photo of people waiting for food and clothing during the relief efforts after the Oct 2011 rains in El Salvador

People waiting for food and clothing being distributed by our staff members and Pathfinders from ICC El Salvador

“As we passed out the food and the drinks, the people said, ‘Let’s give a round of applause to Seventh-day Adventist church group!’ And they started to clap for us; it was so touching to see how grateful they were with what little we could give them.

Staff members from ICC El Salvador distribute food to people who lost their homes due to flooding resulting from Oct 2011 torrential rains in El Salvador

ICC El Salvador Pathfinders and staff members serve food to people displaced by flooding from torrential rains in El Salvador during October 2011

“We left the people well-fed and with warm clothes on their backs. I was SO proud of the ICC kids that came to volunteer. By some standards, these kids don’t have much themselves, but they were still willing to share with those who had lost everything.

“As I was passing out drinks, I overheard two men from the church talking about me in Spanish. They were saying, ‘She can’t be a missionary, she is way too young.’

“After a while of listening to this, I approached them and asked why they thought I was too young to be a student missionary. I explained that although I look young, I am 19. Even if I was very young, what did that matter if God wanted to use me?

“The look on their faces was priceless! They thought I couldn’t understand/speak Spanish. So they began apologizing and said they agreed with me, if God wanted to use a young person, why couldn’t a young person be used? I assured them they hadn’t offended me.”

ICC is in the business of letting God use those He has called to serve. Please contact us today if you are interested in allowing God to use your gifts.

Thanks for reading!

Lori Manley
ICC International Social Worker

Violent Storm Damages Las Palmas Crops

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

We’ve received some disturbing news from Mario Lora, ICC’s business and farm manager at the Las Palmas Campus in the Dominican Republic. On Friday, May 27 an isolated and violent storm swept through the Las Palmas campus and caused extensive damage to the farm crops which had been growing in such abundance.

Weather forecasts had not predicted the storm, and it hit the campus unexpectedly and with terrific force. According to Mario, “Its radius of action was practically in our locality and towards the mountains. In fact, the nearby city of Bonao had no damage.

“We understand that it affected an area of about 10 square kilometers with us in the center. We haven’t heard anything about it on the news, and everyone who comes here is surprised when they see the destruction.

“In fact, one of the engineers in charge of the greenhouse project, when he came here was stunned because he didn’t know this had happened, and he was investigating a lot to see what happened. It was quick, only lasting about 20 to 25 minutes as a strong storm, and then the rain lasted for a long time afterward. There was no warning to prepare.”

Plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm destroyed by a focused storm.

Some of the destroyed plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm

About 2/3 of the plantain crop was damaged by the heavy winds and rain that accompanied the storm. Many of the trees were laden with plantains and according to Mario, “With a few exceptions, all trees that had stalks (bunches) of plantains fell to the ground. The stalks varied a lot, from ones that were just flowering to those that were ready to harvest.

Of the trees that didn’t have stalks, only a few fell to the ground, but a very small percentage. We think that about 2,500 plantain trees fell over. Each stalk has about 30 to 40 plantains, which at the current market price are worth between 5 and 7 pesos, so each stalk is worth about 150 pesos [$4.05]. When we multiply that by 2,500 trees, it comes out to a loss of about 375,000 pesos [$10,135]. Also, we were left with about 1,250 trees which will start flowering in the next three months.”

The loss of the trees means more than the loss of the crop. A tree can produce several crops, plus they produce other “children” – small trees that grow up to the next generation. Mario, the staff and children at Las Palmas have quickly started the process of rehabilitating trees that can be salvaged and planting new trees.

Mario states that, “when we plant a new crop it takes about 8 or 9 months to start producing.” One piece of good news is that the project already has enough seeds to do the replanting and together with rehabilitating the damaged trees, the project should be able to expand the crop. This will have to wait until the rains allow the workers to prepare the land.

Plantains are a staple crop at the children’s village. This loss will certainly impact the project. Mario continues. “Of the production that we had projected, we consume almost the entire crop. What was happening at this moment was that as the plantains would get ripe we would cut them for use in the homes. They were not all ready to cut at the same time. In fact, many times we have had to cut them before they were really ready because of the needs in the homes.”

One of the other important crops at Las Palmas is Yucca. Mario estimated that perhaps 30% to 40% was affected. Since Yucca are tubers, it’s difficult to say at this time what the effect of the storm may be. However, there was significant damage to the plants themselves and the tubers may rot or not develop normally.

Garden vegetables were also hit hard, and according to Mario, “everything we had was ruined.” The house father and children of house 4 on the Las Palmas campus had put forth dedicated effort to supply the homes with vegetables. Mario estimates that this was valued at the equivalent of $135 per week so over the next 8 weeks as they wait for new crops to mature, they’ll need to spend about $1,080 to replace what was lost.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm

There are some bright spots in all this discouraging news. All the children and staff escaped unharmed. Praise God for that! Also, the sweet potato, corn and pineapple crops were not damaged. As well, there is something telling about how Mario describes the attitude of the staff and children on campus. “What has impressed me the most in all this,” he states, “is the good spirit that exists among the employees and the kids. We can see complete unity in order to reestablish, with God’s help and our efforts, what has been damaged. We have courage to continue on as long as the Lord gives us the strength.”

We’re pleased to report that when the Versacare Foundation heard about this tragedy, they immediately provided a donation of $10,000 to help with this food emergency. What a blessing this is! Additional funds are needed, and if you would like to help, please mark your donation “Las Palmas Farm and Food Fund.” It will directly assist with this need.

Thank you for your generous support.

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC