April 19, 2021

How are you doing? It is April. The grass is green. I even planted kale seeds a few weeks ago in a small planter that I can bring indoors. Why am I thinking about gardening so early? Well actually I have been thinking gardening and “Gardens of Faithfulness” and Farming God’s Way for many months now.

Saturday, April 10 was a beautiful day here in Waterloo Region; a great day to begin planting some more seeds. I filled my egg cartons with soil, poked holes and planted my seeds according to the instructions (ie 3mm depth for my lettuce mix). I covered lightly with more soil and watered gently. I put the egg cartons into some old window boxes and set them out where I would eventually transplant the seedlings. I put my plastic fencing in place and covered them with netting. Birds and rabbits also like my seeds and plants. Good, now just wait and see what happens. There will be warm sunny days and everything will grow nicely.

Starting my seeds in egg cartons.

Well, it began to rain Saturday night. It rained Sunday, Sunday night and Monday. I realized that the seeds were being flooded out. The cartons were sitting in water. Some seeds likely have been washed away. You may be saying, “Marilyn, what’s the big deal? Just go out and buy more seeds, or easier yet, buy some plants ready to be planted.” So true BUT ….

Very wet egg cartons – seeds!
Ready to plant egg cartons.

This is a “micro” example of what happens in so many places around the world, where devastations occur on a much larger scale, where there is no food security, and where people do not have adequate means to “just buy more seeds.” Last week, in a meeting with our partners in Haiti, I was told that they were receiving heavy rains to the point were, like my little cartons of seeds, their crops, planted too close to rivers, were flooded out. Further up the hills, the crops were washed down the hillsides because there is nothing to hold the soil. Finally, in some distress Hernso said to me, “it is not the rainy season! That doesn’t start until next month.”

You might think that I have become obsessed with gardens. Not really but I have committed to growing a “garden of faithfulness” this year. Would you like to join me? All you need is a 1 x 2 metre plot of ground, rather like one of your flower beds. I am committed to following the “guide” as our Haitian partners will be doing. Check out the link on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNvXEbYKIyk&t=151s

I will be planting two, 1 m rows of green, leafy vegetables – kale, swiss chard or the like – these are high in Vitamin C and lot of other vitamins. The next two rows will be root vegetables, carrots or beets, also very high in vitamins (beets are a double blessing, as leaves and roots are edible). The last 2 rows will be “fruit bearing” plants – green beans, peas, peppers or green onions. Sounds to me like a healthy salad and veggies.

Preparing my markers and string.

This is just the beginning. I will keep you posted. Let me know if you have decided to join me. It will be a fun spring and summer activity.

In January 2021, I introduced to you RD 146: Education, Food Security and Community Mobilization in northeast Haiti. “Gardens of Faithfulness” are just one piece of Initiative.

RD 146 has 3 facets: 1. Education of School Children, 2, Gardens of Faithfulness and Conservation Agriculture and 3. Community Mobilization.

The GDN AEM school has 300 students. There are 8 teachers for the elementary classes J.K. to Grade 6 and 9 teachers for the 3 middle school classes. Fifty (50) beneficiary families have been chosen.

For example: this is Mr. Eberle and the 5 beneficiary students in Grade 2.

The Education piece is off to a good start; teachers are teaching and students are attending classes. RD 146 covers the cost of teachers.

The “Gardens of Faithfulness” facet is a bigger challenge. The beneficiary families need to receive training and participate in practical activities. They have not gardened this way before. The teachers also are being trained as they will help with supervision and training re gardens and compost process for the 3-6 beneficiary families whose children are in their classes. Mr Eberle above will be visiting and supervising the families of Rose, Cherlanda, Landie, Kernise and Thelins each month.

Some Teachers and Directors receiving training
Preparing Garden Inputs
Getting the soil prepared

This is just the beginning. Already we are hearing “on the street” comments expressing interest and wanting to participate. This is exciting. Pray with us and pray with our Haiti Partners, Hernso and Herlynda, teachers and families as they begin to visualize what this is all about.

Personal Note: I am well. Thank you Father God for your mercies during these days of COVID. The weeks leading up to Easter were a blessing to me. I have been part of a small group studying Jesus in the Old Testament. We have been listening to various youtube presentations from Messianic Jews and how they have come to see Jesus Christ, for example in Isaiah 52 and 53. It has brought the O.T. portions into a new light for me. Very good.

On Easter weekend I was reminded of the encounter of the men walking back home to Emmaus. They did not realize that they were conversing with Jesus. In great wonder and amazement they said “did not our hearts burn within us?” Have we been stirred within our souls in this same way? Have our eyes have been opened to see Jesus, our risen Saviour, our King and our God?

Check out the powerful song, “Resurrecting.” by Elevation.

Besides gardening and walking and birdwatching, what have I been doing for fun? On Good Friday after our in person church service, I hung out with Tanisha, my friend from public health. She loves Jesus too and so we have great conversations at lunch break. We did some baking together. I am not an expert but I do love baking so I was helping her.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf – delicious!

We had fun. We taste-tested the cookies. Mmmm Good.

Make a cup of tea or coffee, enjoy a snack and remember to pray for our partners in Haiti.

Pray Notes:

  1. Family of School Director Merius Richard in the recent death of their 22 year old son (an accident in Ouanaminthe).
  2. Family of Pastor Andronique Pierre who died suddenly in Cape Haitian. He was one of the older pastors, leaders of the AEM church.
  3. Funding for RD146. Need monthly commitment of $7500 CDN.
  4. Country of Haiti – serious unrest in Port au Prince, kidnappings etc.
  5. Haiti – protection from the new variants of Covid.

Blessings until our next chat.

Marilyn McIlroy EMCC World Partners Haiti
Project Manager, Health & Community Development
Cell Phone: 519 584 5654 mmcilroy@emcc.ca