It is no exaggeration to say that Food/Cash-4-Work projects have been one of the most effective strategies that we have used to serve and, at the same time, develop our community.
This summer, the importance of this approach only became more and more evident. The economical and environmental conditions of our area at large only seem to grow worse. Over the summer, men from the community came to Lemuel pleading that we would open up some Food-4-Work, so that they could support their families. (Note: We often use Food-4-Work and Cash-4-Work interchangeably, since they are the exact same concept. It just depends on whether it is food or cash that we have available.)
Thanks to another delivery of food from Kids Against Hunger, we were able to provide some work in a nearby water hole. That food ran out just before school was to open, and families in our community were again asking for work so that they could pay for their children’s school fees. God provided a generous cash donation, and so we kept going, giving work to 25 families who continued to expand the water hole.
Come visit the site in the video below (sorry about the weird, jerky zoom). Bring your pick-axe!
These short-term jobs literally enable people in our community to live. Without them…what would they do? Their gardens are scorched and dry. There are no jobs, and Lemuel cannot provide long-term employment to everyone.
But there are TWO ways in which the Cash-4-Work saved our community.
You may notice in the video above that there are people drawing water out of the hole, even as the men are working. For the past several months, this water hole has been the only local source of water for miles around. At the same time that the men in the Cash-4-Work program are saying they don’t know what they would do with out the work provided through the program, the rest of the people in the community are saying they don’t know what they would do without this water hole.
So jobs AND water are both provided. An economic crisis AND a physical crisis (brought on by environmental crisis) are addressed at the same time.
Kids go to school.
People and livestock have water.
Work ethic and personal dignity are preserved.
A community is developed.
All because of Food- and Cash-4-Work.
Watch it unfold (starting after the men had already been working for several weeks)…
Livestock stand by, waiting patiently.
Mr. Almonord was there one day watering his animals.
Listen to his perspective as a member of the community…
“We could have even 100 water holes in the area that hold water like this, and it would be more than useful to us…”
Well, I’m glad he said that! Because, here is our next big dream for a Food-4-Work project…
This is the big water hole. In fact, it was originally birthed through Food-4-Work a number of years ago. Due to some problems with a canal, it has been unable to actually capture and hold water lately. But Manis and the Development department have been formulating big plans. When it rains in the mountains, a huge amount of water runs through a nearby ravine until it empties into the ocean. The development team is carefully calculating a way to bar the water three different times–in succeeding tiers, or mini-dams, if you will. These barriers will not only create temporary watering holes in the ravine, but they will also direct water into the canal, which will then carry it to the water hole. This water hole is far bigger than the other one. Already with the last remaining Food-4-Work resources we had, the men have begun digging out the huge canal, which was filled in with earth during a brief–but heavy–rain. They are also fixing it so that it does not fill in again.
Want to see it? (Did I mention dug by hand?)
Music Credit: “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now” by Need to Breathe
But the project has stopped here, because for now our resources for Cash-4-Work have run out. It is our goal to hold at least two weeks of Food- or Cash-4-Work every month. The more, the better! If you would like to contribute to make this possible, please consider making a donation and designating it for the Cash-4-Work program.
To make a donation via Extreme Response*, click here:
(For a deeper look at the powerful, multi-faceted impact of Food-4-Work, please read the post The Parable of the Thorns: Why Does Food-4-Work Matter. Be sure to scroll down past the introduction.)