One 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.