Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fishing? Giving, Teaching, or Growing?

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime….Chinese proverb…BUT what if this man or woman does not live near bodies of water with fish? Or if she does what if the lake is polluted with heavy minerals like mercury? Then what?

Our volunteer, Jason Kwalick , has a solution! Aqua culture! Raising your own fish to eat, but it goes further…he recycles the water and feeds vegetable plants with the fish wastes and in turn the plants and gravel clean the water.

It is so exciting to me that sometimes I’m not very clear. Let me back up…Jason has a deep love for aqua culture…he helped raise two kois that sold for $10,000 and $13,000 each…wow! Right after coming here as a volunteer, he talked to Mike about starting a demonstration tank on our finca, but we are having serious cash flow problems. Jason’s solution was to pay for it himself and set up a smaller version.

He bought a 200 gallon tank and dug a big hole and placed it there. He then cut two 50 gallon tanks in half and built a platform to the left of the tank and raised the smaller tanks above the fish tank. He installed a small electrical pump (can be done with a hand pump).

In the 50 gallon tanks he put in gravel to filter the water and planted some tomatoes, peppers and melons to remove the ammonia and wastes from the water… the plants flourish on these wastes. The pump is timed to periodically suck the water out and up to water the plants and gravity pulls the water back to the fish. The water dropping back in also aerates the water so the fish can breathe.

He even bought fish, which was harder than we thought…sleuthing a source for baby fish. We have about 75 fish!

When the fish are big enough, they are farmed and eaten. Fish are a high source of protein. As we show this to other farmers and they become interested…Jason can help set up their fish farms. El Porvenir is interested.

This is very exciting and – I guess – I will have to learn to clean fish!

Teach a cooperative how to raise their own fish and the cooperative can eat and grow more vegetables as well… version of a Jason Kwalick proverb.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Why is Maria hungry?

A dear friend of mine sent me a book, Boundaries…I guess to help me set some in my own life. On page 40 these doctors/authors quoted Proverbs and stated:

Hunger is a consequence of laziness

Drs. Cloud and Townsend obviously do not know many in the Third World. They do not know that 49% of Nicarguans live on less than $1/day and are hungry or that more than three quarters of the population live on less that $2/day and are also hungry.

How can authors...who quote one scripture after another claiming to free Christians of their boundary issues... say something which is in direct contrast to the good news that Jesus preached to the poor? Or in contrast to the passage if you've seen someone hungry and you do not feed that hungry one then you do not feed me...Jesus.

This ignorance points to the boundaries these authors have placed around themselves. The walls to protect themselves that they actually THINK of writing “hunger is a consequence of laziness”! The Nicaraguan people are some of the most hard-working people in the world and the hungriest.

Maria gets up before the sun rises, stokes the cook stove and puts the beans on to cook. She sweeps dirt floor of the house. The baby wakes and she nurses the baby. She and her four children gather what they can from the street that might be usable. She then irons the four uniforms heating the iron on the fire.. After being up and working for over an hour, she begins scrubbing them down in the pila (a wash basin). Her husband comes home from working as a guard all night, seven days a week for about $75/month. He is tired and hungry.

Maria puts some leftover rice from last night’s meal on the table and the few jocotes they harvested from their tree. All eat…and all are hungry still. Children go off to school. Husband collapses in the hammock strung in the wee, hot backroom of the tiny house.

Maria cleans up. She scrubs his uniform and a few other clothes on the washboard of the pila and hangs them on barb wire to dry. She then goes out and walks the neighborhood selling a few tomatoes she grew. With what money she has left of her husband's wage and from what she has sold she buys a 1/4th cup of oil, 1 cup of rice, and 1 cup of sugar for the drink and to give them calories.

She comes home in time to take down the dry uniform, iron it for work that night, cook the rice and she found four oranges in the trash that she can make refresco with. The children return and they eat…saving some for the father who will rise later so he can be awake at his security job. After cleaning again…always stoking the fire with twigs she scrubs the four school uniforms so they will be ready for school.

During the day she has swept her dirt floor and dirt yard eight times. She and the children have hauled buckets of water seven times for cleaning, washing, bathing, cooking, and drinking. She has managed her children, helped with their homework (if she can), helped her husband eat and get ready. Chased other animals out of her yard to protect her few tomato plants. All in temperatures averaging 95°! As the temperatures drop she pulls out a few tortillas she managed to trade with a neighbor…a tiny bit of rice…a few beans. They eat…they soon go to bed…hungry.

Maria is not lazy…Maria is oppressed. Would the author of Proverbs had said that to the Israelites when they were in bondage in Eygpt?

The most filled people in the world are the laziest…they let money make their money. They would not know how to cook beans on a open fire, or go house to house to sell tomatoes for pennies.

Hunger is NOT a consequence of laziest…at least not for the majority of this earth’s popluation. It is the consequence of oppression. Remember that when people spout unreasonable platitudes….for Maria’s sake.