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Rafiki Foundation  |  God's Word at Work

Renner Jun 2018

Renner Jun 2018

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Dear friends and family,

In a country that has seen severe starvation in its not too distant past, and is currently listed as one of the poorest in the world, being able to provide food for your family every day is of primary importance. Nearly every available spot of land in the villages surrounding Rafiki Village has something growing on it – mostly maize which is dried, harvested, ground into flour and made into nsima – the staple food of Malawians.

Every weekday nearly 160 Day Students pass through our gates. They are given breakfast before school starts, and a nutritious hot lunch. When you add our 98 resident children, the Mamas, teachers and others who eat here, you know that we go through a LOT of food. 

Part of the education we are trying to provide for our resident children is how to survive outside the gate, and these lessons seem especially urgent since several of our children are only 1 ½ years away from graduation!

As mentioned in previous newsletters, we have greatly expanded our gardens which are all planted and maintained by the children and their Mamas. Much of what we grow is used in our own kitchen, and any surplus can be sold with a portion of the profit going to the cottage. They can use their earnings to replace worn out soccer balls, basketballs or something else their cottage might need. It is very gratifying to see them start to appreciate that their hard work was actually worth it.

During dry season each cottage is assigned a group of trees to water in our large fruit, banana and coffee tree orchards. They save water from their showers by standing in a basin, using it each morning to water their assigned trees.  In a few weeks our new water recovery system will also be operational. This will allow us to catch, store and use grey water from the kitchen and laundry as well as any rain runoff that has up to now just been wasted. 

A job they do not especially like is maintaining the compost piles. As you can imagine we have a lot of fruit and vegetable peelings and grass clippings which help to nourish our compost. To prove its importance we did a little experiment last year where one part of the garden had compost applied and the other portion did not. The benefits were obvious and undeniable, so we’re even hoping to teach good stewardship of trash!

Every Saturday morning 16 live, unsuspecting chickens are delivered to us. Every cottage takes their turn to be the ones getting them ready to be “on the menu” later that week. Their reward is that they get to also practice Malawian cooking of the feet, heads, liver, heart and intestines which are added to onions and fresh greens picked from their own gardens – then eat the meal they prepared, all the while learning valuable survival skills! This is all done outdoors – since very few Malawians have an indoor kitchen.

Also on Saturdays another cottage is assigned to take our whole kernels of maize to the maize mill where it is ground into flour for the week’s nsima.  The ability to carry objects on your head is also a prized skill which they have learned quite well! 

All of these lessons will be useful in their futures, but pale when compared with the spiritual lessons which are also taught here every day, such as John 6:27 which says “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you…”