Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kenya Update and Beyond - March 2010

The Tilapia Project is starting to move around the world. What began in East Texas is already working in a Kenyan orphanage and we are hoping to help Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic this summer. Here’s a quick recap:

1) Tilapia in East Texas: Success! Last May, we introduced about 35 small tilapia into a pond to study their growth and productivity. Over the summer the fish proved to be tough and prolific in reproduction. The fish grew to over a pound each before being harvested in October. With winter approaching, we collected over 1,000 of their offspring and moved them into the storage shed behind our house. The plan was to over winter them and stock them again the following spring in several ponds. Then came winter! We found it wasn’t economically feasible to heat the little shed after our electric bill went up in December. We had learned what we needed to know, so we gave the fish to a friend who does organic gardening for fertilizer. We were sad to end the local project sooner than we planned, but it didn’t make sense to spend the money on heating our shed when there are more projects to be implemented and better ways to spend the funds God has given us.

2) Tilapia in Kenya: God is working in Kenya! In November, we sent $1000 to the Kisima Academy, an orphanage serving over 100 children in Kenya. Within one week, the director of the orphanage, Martin Simiyu, had two hand dug ponds finished and filled with water and fish! Today those fish are growing and doing well. Martin has planted a garden and plans to raise chickens in the area around the ponds. We expect the first fish will be ready for harvest in six to eight months. In the mean time, the fish will reproduce, making the next generations of food for the children of Kisima. Please check out the Kisima academy website http://kisimaacademy.blogspot.com/ and support them as the Lord leads you.

What’s next you ask? The Tilapia Project will be heading to the Dominican Republic in June! Stefan Schmid has been working with Haitian refugees in the “DR” through Mercy Ships since 2003. We will be investigating the feasibility of growing tilapia in some ponds near the town of Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata is on the northern coast. We will develop a plan with the people growing the fish that will allow them to help families in need without creating another form of dependence that could lead to more hunger in the future. If everything looks good, we hope the fish will be used to supplement the diet of children attending a Christian school that works primarily with Haitian refugees.

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