Current Bricks For Life Projects
Improved Seed and Fertilizer.
The primary thing the villagers identified as a real need was for improved seed and fertiliser for each of the 70 farmers, at a cost of $350.00 each. The reality is that their soil is totally depleted of nutrients, etc., and needs a massive shot in the arm to improve its productivity. There have been many discussions since Ric arrived home about the relative merits of organic natural fertilisers - compost, animal manure, etc - and inorganic fertilisers, like urea and DAP.
While Amlaku is working to improve techniques for composting, etc., it has been decided that for the next 3 years, we need to fund artificial fertilisers, along with the improved seed that will make such a difference to their crops. Fundraising for this continues, with funds already in hand for about half of the farmers. We are committed to have these funds for improved seed and fertiliser for the first year to them by April 2017. With the improved crops this should bring them, they will, hopefully, be able to fund improved seed themselves into the future.
However, we will continue to endeavour to fund fertiliser for the next couple of years. Amlaku, in the meantime, is in contact with a remarkable community some distance to the north of Lalibela, where this sort of process has been going on for a number of years. They have planted thousands of nitrogen fixing trees, and it is hoped that Amlaku will be able to visit them shortly with some of his neighbours, both to see what they are doing, and also to bring back lots of these seeds.
Update: June 8 2017: As a result of Amlaku's visit here earlier this year (See NZ Tour page), we have been able to furnish them with the funds needed for improved seed and fertiliser for this year. They are right now planting busily, hugely excited to see how these crops work out. Amlaku writes :
I am quite amazed here with how the people are happy and ready to utilize this opportunity carefully and change it into effective production. Now already people are aware what we are expecting them to do, and how you as a family collect them the funds to do this. Since the day I shared with them your plan coming here (July 23 – 30) they keep saying that they want to show you a good cover of crops by the time you arrive here. With the methods we have been seeking for them to implement, which is really important for them to understand, the value of your trip and why you are coming here and where to go with the support you are made for them.
I am not anymore their motivator, rather steadily becoming their partners. The attitude they have built now is something I have never observed from them before.
The sentence in bold is, I believe hugely significant, because it speaks of the transformation that is happening in the village.
As mentioned above, we will still need to provide fertiliser for the next couple of years. Any help towards funding this would be hugely appreciated. Click on the box to the right hand side of this page to see how to donate.