Often when people here in the U.S. consider HIV/AIDS, hunger, or poverty in Africa, a cloudy image of hopelessness arises. Or they think the problem is too complicated to undertake. Yes, there are difficulties that some Africans face. However, Africa is a big place,a continent with many countries, and many stories. People lead dynamic lives no matter what circumstances they face–they wake up each morning to try their hands, heart, and soul at this thing called life. And it’s not all that crazy, or difficult, to think that such lives are not so different from ours, or that the problem at hand is an impossible one to tackle.
Why Rita Rose Garden and Farm? We’re working with an organization in Kisumu on access to food for vulnerable families. We’re working on a sustainable solution. We have a great piece of land. It’s already very productive. Through the efforts of OLPS, Mama Hope, and the First Fifth Fellowship it has an abundant water source. This water has been extended to serve two villages in the area beyond the farm, effectively providing a clean water source accessible to 39,000 people.
We also have a greenhouse, 3 fishponds, beehives and a drip irrigation garden. This drip garden is one way we have approached a problem. By installing pipes that feed a small amount of water directly at the roots of a plant, we conserve water and improve crop yields throughout dry seasons. All of these are assets that will make the farm sustainable. I’ll be working with the community on a strategic plan to ensure that this farm reaches it’s full potential and is a source of food and income for generations of healthy families.
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The title of today’s post is from Our Lady of Perpetual Support, or OLPS. OLPS is behind the Rita Rose garden, an organization that supports people in Kisumu who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS in a myriad of ways. One of the things they do is support 700 orphans and vulnerable children by placing them with extended family, or others willing to take them into their own families. They also run an HIV/AIDS health clinic and offer outreach, counseling and testing services, as well as nutrition classes for new mothers, among other things. My fellow advocate, Camila, is working on their rescue center, providing a safe and stable home to women and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. You can read about her project here: <http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=249422>.