Farm Project – Sustainable Opportunity

Imagine getting one vegetable twice a week, fruit maybe 3 to 4 times a year. Due to the extremely high prices for fresh fruits and vegetables, the reality is that the feeding center often is limited to this menu option.

Farm Land
Now imagine the reality of the constant struggle to find funding each month to feed 175 children, two meals a day. When we think of the food supplies for our own family and multiply it out to cover 175 meals twice a day, it is almost incomprehensible. It is a good thing God’s math is not our math or Living Waters could not operate. This is truly a modern day miracle where God stretches the resources in ways we do not understand.

After years of prayer God has made sustainable relief possible with providing Living Waters available land to lease. We have the option to lease 3+ acres on the lake just a mile from the feeding center. The soil is quite rich and with it being on the lake, there is unlimited irrigation. The lack of water in this dry arid land is the main cause for such high food prices.

Farm land 2
Land lease details provide five ten year lease options for a total of 50 years. This land with proper management and care should be able to produce all of the needed fruits and vegetables required for the feeding center providing a significant nutritional boost to our children. In addition, there should be enough extra produce to sell to the local markets to offset the purchase of the beans, maize and rice. This opportunity provides for long term sustainability to make sure the feeding center can continue on for decades, even after Mary Jo and I are no longer here.

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Here is the immediate need. The land must be fenced to keep the hippos from ravaging the farm (they are vegetarians). This will require a strong chain link fence that will have 3 inch metal pipe for poles and a heavy gauge chain link. It will also have the extended brackets and barb wire on top to keep potential poachers from taking the produce. In addition to the game fence, a complete irrigation system will need to be constructed. This will require a 30 foot tower that will have a 10,000 liter water tank on top along with a small diesel-operated water pump to bring water from the lake to the tank. There will be 2 1/2 inch water lines transferring the gravity feed water to the front of the land 1100 feet from the tower. Water manifolds and drip irrigation will also be need to be installed.

In addition to the fence and the land, a greenhouse can be built to provide the needed covered space for new seedlings and sensitive crops. And finally, it would be most helpful to have a small tractor that tills the land, cultivates, carries the produce to both the feeding center (on a daily basis) and to the market.

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The total price of this project is approximately $60,000 USD with an annual lease payment of $1,000/year. When you consider that living Waters currently spends almost $2000./month for food, you can see how quickly the return on the investment is. This will make a big impact on the sustainability potential.

As this is a time where many think of how they would like to contribute to a worthy charity, I ask you to give extra consideration to this project. I know many of you are sponsoring a child now and we are so blessed for that, however, I am personally appealing to all of our interested supporters to please consider how much you could give to help us reach this goal. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 percent of this funding will go directly to fund the farm project. Please help us reach our goal as soon as possible. Your donation is a long term investment that will continue to provide benefits for decades to come. Our donor base is small so please consider the maximum you are able to send in support of the Living Waters farm project. Thank you and may God richly bless you for your consideration.

News Update: (Dec 5, 2016) From Jungle to Farm

1One hundred and seventy five children and the staff from the Living Waters Feeding Center and Living Waters Farm would like to wish you a very happy holiday season and give thanks to the Creator God, and to the many well-wishers and donors who continue to support the orphaned children of Kaswanga.

The children of Kaswanga continue to receive two meals per day, school uniforms and medical care. We have a wonderful crew of eight dedicated individuals that care for these children daily, as well as two full time staff members and up to six additional workers operating the Living Waters farm.

Daryl and Mary Jo will be traveling to Kaswanga in March and hope to spend up to six weeks at Kaswanga.

We are excited to report that as of the end of November the farm land has been fully planted with a variety of crops, including local green vegetables, Swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, winter squash, buckwheat, carrots, collards, potatoes, watermelons and herbs. Thanks to the dedication and skill of our farm staff, all systems on the farm are functioning well. Additionally, a watchman and two German Shepherd guard dogs watch over the land at night, successfully preventing any human or animal intruders.

Achieving full operation at the Living Waters farm has come at a crucial time for this community. The island has been in the midst of a long drought lasting through summer and fall 2016. Currently, there are virtually no fresh foods available except the variety of produce from the Living Waters farm. This is an affirmation to us that God planned for this project to be fully implemented in time to provide life sustaining food.

February is the target date for the farm to be fully self-sustaining with expenses being offset by the sale of fruit and vegetables to the local community. The feeding center is getting fresh vegetables two days a week and the remaining harvest is sold to offset the farm expenses. Once the farm is self-sustaining, we aim provide fresh produce most days of the week to the feeding center. Providing fresh food from the farm will cut down on the food budget significantly and the savings can be used to offset the substantial medical expenses. Every month we are spending triple our budgeted amount for medical care. With 175 children, $100 per month simply is not enough to cover medical expenses for malaria, diseases related to water pollution, tuberculosis and other conditions.

The farm project implementation expenses were approximately 25 percent higher than originally planned, mostly due to the unexpected need for the construction of the dike and the initial labor costs associated with the transformation from jungle to farm.

One piece of the project that we have not yet had funding for is the purchase of a green house. A greenhouse would greatly increase the success of transplants including tomatoes (a very lucrative cash crop) by preventing approximately 90 percent of the losses from disease. Greenhouses have been proven to be very cost beneficial in this part of the world.

As we look to further enrich the lives of these children in the coming year, Living Waters is seeking funding to purchase and install a green house. A 100 X 20 foot hoop house will cost approximately $10,000. This investment includes connection to the water source, growing beds, and starting tables. The extra production of tomatoes will be a substantial source of income, contributing to our goal of a self-sustainable farm. If you are interested in making a tax deductible gift for this project or for feeding center operations (including medical care), you can go online to donate or send a check to Living Waters. Be sure to indicate where you would like your gift to be used. If you are choosing to support the greenhouse project, just click the farm button and proceeds will go to a greenhouse.

We thank you for the support that you have given and thank you in advance for your support in the coming years. Your contributions have truly made a life-saving impact for the children of the Living Waters Feeding Center. Happy Holidays and God Bless.


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News Update: (July 29, 2016) Living Waters Farm Planted

Living Waters would like to extend a sincere thank you to the donors who have sacrificially given in an effort to make the Living Waters Feeding Center in Kenya sustainable. With your support, we have completed Phase One of the farm implementation.

One June 1, 2016 Daryl and Living Waters volunteer, Alyssa Peterson departed for the return trip to Kenya with plans to complete Phase One of the Sustainable Farm project. Daryl was expecting this trip to be a bit more relaxed than the fast pace, high pressure trip that was completed in May, however, this trip would present challenges and pressures way beyond what was humanly possible.

With a wonderful lady, Corne, a volunteer from South Africa and Alyssa from Arizona, they would become the hands in caring for much that Daryl could not physically do. Alyssa was there for 5 weeks and Corne has volunteered for up to a year. It would have seemed that with the water tower erected, the land cleared, the fence 80 percent completed, the road built to connect the property with the main road, and the entrance gates built, that the rest was simply putting on the finishing touches. God must have been smiling at such a naive thought. The first challenge that I will not go into was a severe health issue that almost thwarted the trip before leaving Phoenix. I only bring this up as it is a testament that when we are doing Gods will, he will provide us with unimaginable strength to carry on His mission even though the devil has set out to stop God’s will being accomplished. Due to Daryl’s health, his son Joby, who does organic farming in Santa Rosa, California, came to assist in the project. His company, Whats Up Farm, was placed on hold while Joby spent three weeks making sure that everything needed to complete Phase One objectives would be met.

Living Waters sustainable farm project was greatly blessed by the expertise and co-operation of Whats Up Farm. Upon arrival, Daryl had to prioritize how all that needed to be done, would get done. There were three foot trenches to be dug that would exceed 3/4 of a mile, complicated by exceptionally high water tables just 1 foot under the ground, building an elevated pump house to install the diesel pump that would carry the water from the lake to the water tower, building a water intake system at the lake, installing 1/2 mile of 3″ water line and 3/4 mile of 2″ water distribution lines, installing 11 water kiosk valves, installing a 10,000 liter water tank on top of the 30 foot high water tower, connecting all of the plumbing with a total of 50 major valves, completing the dike that measured 130 feet long, 6 feet high and 15 feet wide using 20 dump truck loads of stone and clay, installing the final fence and energizing systems including solar charging, building out the control room for the fence system, completing the painting of the gate entrance, building a 26′ by 46′ metal workshop, purchasing a piece of farm equipment for harrowing the land, digging furrows for the available land for planting, installing the irrigation system, and on the last day of our project we were able to plant about 35 percent of the farm.

All of this would take place and be accomplished with the normal challenges of availability of supplies, weekly trip to Kisumu for these supplies, coordinating 25 people to work on various needs, and of course the unexpected difficulties that seem to hamper every worthwhile project. Praise to God, there were no accidents (which there was serious potential for), and after struggling for 3 days to get the irrigation system functioning, we were able to get the needed supply of water, and therefore plant what was available usable land for planting. We are waiting for the spring harvest to be completed by the family who leased us the land and this will open up about 65 percent more land for our use.

This week the farm manager reported that all of the crops planted which include, watermelons, greens, onions, okra, carrots, squash, tomatoes, beets and much more have all germinated and are growing well. Now we ask God to protect the farm from pestilence and disease and to help this farm to produce in ways that will give glory to Him.

As part of the ongoing security detail we purchased two, three month old German Shepard puppies. They will be wonderful watchdogs at the farm. We also hired on a Massai watchman. There are so many stories to share, but suffice it to say that God had His hand over this project. Most of the donations and pledges have been received and even though the project went $20,000 over budget (due to unexpected circumstances), God has and always will find ways for us to trust Him. I fully expect it to take several years for the farm to be in full production, however, the feeding center should start reaping the benefits within 3 months. Even thought there was exceptional rains at the start of the rainy season, the rains stopped early and most of the local corn and millet crops did not mature. This will cause a food shortage in the area and we believe that God saw this coming and inspired us last winter to move in the direction of this project.

This has been an amazing project that has far surpassed what I thought would be involved. I will tell you that we did the best we could, we did not skimp on getting the best available quality, and many locals could not understand why we would spend so much on approximately 7 acres of land. The reason is that this is a testament to God and for His glory, that this farm will produce food for his hungry children when many will go without, and this is a 50 year project. There will be very little in the way of maintenance or upgrades that will need to be done and therefore it was an investment into the future. Thank you all for your support and please keep the Living Waters Farm in your thoughts, prayers and potential giving plans.


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News Update: (April 17, 2016) Out of Africa

We have been in Kenya just two weeks and what an incredible 2 weeks it has been. Daryl, Rusty (my brother) and Mark McMillan (my cousin) arrived within 1 hour of each other from three different states and connected in Kenya without difficulty. Our trip as a trio started out eventfully with arriving at the Guest House just outside of Nairobi at 12 midnight. After an exhausting trip we found ourselves soaked from the rains as we were both entering the guest house and trying to free our taxi driver from the clutches of slick, thick and not movable mud. Mark walked in the rain to get our vehicle where it was being stored as I was sure we could pull out the taxi with our four-wheel drive Land Cruiser, affectionate called “the Beast”. I promptly got the Beast stuck almost up to the axles and there both vehicles would remain until the next morning when we were able to get a tractor to extradite the masses.

We connected with Kepha Pondi a Living Waters Board Member who was joining our team from the Philippines and we joyfully left Nairobi on Monday April 4th. We located and purchased a well-built 7 X 12 open utility trailer which we promptly loaded with a 2500 gallon water tank for transport across Kenya. I was not sure the trailer was the right thing to do, but I was impressed that we would use it in this project at some time in the future and I was able to make the purchase at a very good price. As a side note the trailer has been used every day on the project and I do not know how we would have done without it. In addition to the water tank that was carried across Kenya it has transported tons of foundation stones, loads of construction supplies including metals and wood, fencing and numerous trips from the Shamba (farm) with staff to and from the feeding center. God immediately put the trailer to good use.

Each of our team has played invaluable roles in which I on my own could not have accomplished in a months. Kepha has successfully negotiated the transportation of the purchase of a container to transport supplies from both the fence supplier and the water tower supplier via lorry from Nairobi to Rusinga. This was no easy task and required much of his time on the phone as we experienced multiple delays in the materials being pronounced ready for pick-up tomorrow. As most of you know tomorrow never comes, however in Kenya it finally arrived 8 days later. He also was in frequent contact with the lease agreement attorney to finalize the final draft of the 50 year lease agreement that has been worked on for the past 5 months. Kepha also spent hours auditing the financial records between Living Waters and our strategic partner in Kenya to assure all documentation was in order. Thank you to Kepha for his tireless pursuit of reconciling all concerns from supplies to transportation and more.

Mark has had a great experience as this was his first trip to Kenya. Last night he commented how much he was growing to love this area and the people. Mark has been our on-site foreman at the farm. On any given day we have 25 workers working to clear brush, did out trunks, dig foundation footers for the water tower and main gate, stack brush and so much more. Keeping 25 people accounted for and all of the tools they are using is no small task and Mark will be sorely missed when he departs in 2 weeks. I know he would love to return for Phase 2 later this summer, however, a sponsorship for his air transportation would have to be found. At 25 years old, Mark brings an incredible presence of harmony to difficult situations and a youthful energy that inspires all of us. I have been very blessed to have shared this experience with him.

My brother Rusty has been busy in multiple ways. It is always good to have another person to run thoughts and ideas past as two are better than one. I am in uncharted territory for this project, but with God in charge, I just follow His leading. Part of that blessing was having Rusty here. He has done most of the vehicle driving as I have found my foot is less than more, healed after the accident I had in January. I am doomed to have this clumsy walking boot on whenever I am at the farm or out of the house. It is very difficult to drive with it, so Rusty has become my chauffeur. I must use a walking stick and I gather a lot more attention than I desire as I hobble through the markets in Mbita gathering supplies. Mark and Rusty have been great in the kitchen and have not complained with the discovery that our solar refrigerator control panel malfunctioned and there are no spare parts in Kenya available. This means a trip to Kisumu on Tuesday to buy a new refrigerator. It is most difficult to adjust to no refrigeration in the kitchen where things will start to mold in 12 hours. Ongoing challenges with ongoing solutions never end in this environment.

We arrived to a rainless rainy season where things were hot and dusty; however, about 3 days ago the rains have started which make new challenges. The rains are such a blessing to all for the crops that have been planted. Our challenge is driving to the farm on the new road we had to have put in which reaches ½ mile from the main road. The development of the road was required to get our container on-site and for future vehicle access, however, getting the work done was costly and not without multiple delays and frustrations. During the rainy season it will be a challenge to keep out of the ditches and keep from sinking in the mud.

All in all, the three of us (Kepha returned to the Philippines on Friday) are really stoked on how much the farm has changed from, much of a jungle environment to it all being cleared and almost ready for the perimeter fence installation. The fence contractors are to arrive this morning and start the layout of the fence and our objectives this next two weeks is as follows.

· Layout the fence and start manually digging 300 fence post holes,

· Pour the concrete slab for the water tower

· Start the erection of the water tower

· Install the entrance gate

· Dig a 2 foot deep ditch almost a half of mile for the water line from the lake to the water tank

· Trip to Kisumu (major energy day) to Kisumu for supplies via the ferry

· Purchase the water pump

· Avoid, snakes, hippos and mosquito

· Ongoing supply purchases for daily construction

When the container arrived late Friday afternoon it had to be completely unloaded from the contents so the container could be off-loaded from the truck and then the contents had to be replaced. This was a 5 hour project and left all of the men exhausted after they had already worked a 7 hour day in the heat. What a team I have been blessed with.

We had a most welcome Sabbath rest here yesterday and it started to rain heavily at 12:30 am. This is the only time of the day I can get internet service so I am writing this to you and sending it early (1:30 am) Sunday morning. On Sabbath morning we took a three hour motorized canoe trip out to Godthe Island where time seems to stand still. The only visible modern day items are motorized canoes and tin roofs. There are no roads, no electric and people live entirely off the local resources. The island is very rocky and has numerous birds and monitor lizards. On the way back across to Rusinga Island we jumped ship into the refreshing waters of Lake Victoria for a welcome and refreshing swim. We cannot swim near the lake shore due to hippos, and parasites in the water.

I ask that all of you keep all of us and this project in your prayer and thoughts. I am trying to make arrangements to either extend my time here or will have to return early June in order to complete the initial phase of this project. It is a huge thing to develop a farm in the middle of the jungle and I must have underestimated the time commitments to have things on schedule. I must have forgot that time slows in Kenya. I need an additional 6 weeks and I think the farm would be in order to start the planting of crops.

I am going to say good bye and good night as I hope to drift back to sleep listening to the gentle rain on the roof. All of us send all of our love to you, and thank you for the multiple ways that you have supported Living Waters and the projects. Oh yes, the kids are on the official April break from school and resume in May. They have been so happy to see us and to meet Rusty and Mark. Two weeks from today my dearest wife Mary Jo, my sister Krystal and her granddaughter Elise leave the US to join us. We will welcome them with open arms and gratitude to have so many family together working together for the good for those less fortunate. I am so blessed.

Daryl, Mark and Rusty

News Update: (Dec 8, 2015) Sustainable Garden Project

Imagine only being able to eat a fresh vegetable once or twice a week, and fresh fruit maybe a handful of times a year. This is a reality to many who live in conditions that don’t allow the growing of fresh food.

Luckily, that can change. Living Waters recently had an opportunity to make the Feeding Center more sustainable, and we need your help.

Here is the immediate need. The land must be fenced to keep the hippos from ravaging the farm (they are vegetarians). This will require a strong chain link fence that will have 3 inch metal pipe for poles and a heavy gauge chain link. It will also have the extended brackets and barb wire on top to keep potential poachers from taking the produce. In addition to the game fence, a complete irrigation system will need to be constructed. This will require a 30 foot tower that will have a 10,000 liter water tank on top along with a small diesel-operated water pump to bring water from the lake to the tank. There will be 2 1/2 inch water lines transferring the gravity feed water to the front of the land 1100 feet from the tower. Water manifolds and drip irrigation will also be need to be installed.

In addition to the fence and the land, a greenhouse can be built to provide the needed covered space for new seedlings and sensitive crops. And finally, it would be most helpful to have a small tractor that tills the land, cultivates, carries the produce to both the feeding center (on a daily basis) and to the market.

Click here to read more about this project.