Aquaponics? I wasn't sure that it was a word, I confess I had to check out Wikipedia. Simply stated it is a combination of raising fish and vegetables. I was thrilled today to learn that I am on the aquaponic project team. I was warned that it involved digging, concrete mixing, and brick laying... all by hand. Sign me up!
All the action started today when I heard words that sometimes haunt my dreams... <Ramero's voice> "Chad: 2 buckets of sand." And as I begin collecting it he ammends, "no Chad, 4 buckets." Let the mortar mixing commence!
This will be the second installation of the system, and were able to go take a look at the first that was completed 10 days ago. Shortly after we arrived at the site where we would install 250 Tilapia along with a patch of lettuce. This self sustaining system will provide the family food and dramatically improve their quality of life. This is more than simply giving out a meal for a day, this is life changing.
Meeting Maria Elena, the mother who will now be able to feed her family healthy foods... was a powerful moment. The depth of her eyes spoke volumes. Her children now have a much better chance of living healthy and full lives.
Here is a quick look at our progress today:
|Margaret is a machine!|
|Caleb was thrilled to contribute!|
|How cool is that?!?|
|Tank hole dug, first layer of block complete.|
We also spent time with the children at the school Labor de Falle. As we pulled up, I heard the comment that it translates as working fault line. The road ends at this village. There is nothing beyond.
We spent the afternoon serving the children spaghetti with wieners, along with a soy milk drink. These cost of these meals is covered by the Breiel Church in Middletown Ohio. Each day the children and the directors of the school give thanks to God for the provision that comes from that congregation.
It was incredible to be greeted by the sound of children shouting my name as I stepped out of the bus. Familiar faces rushed up to me with arms outstretched as I scooped them up and it was like I had never been away. Like in June, I swooped them off their feet as we spun in circles. The kids even remembered the fist bump handshake and explosion sound effects! I laughed even harder when I realized they were asking me, "where is your hat?" I had to pull it out of my pack and put it on. They rubbed my head and laughed until I did.
|The Common Area of Labor de Falla School|
C.R.I. staff & school administration
|Class is in session!|
|Left to right: School Principal & Teacher|
|Learning about the continents|
|This class sang to us!|
|Bringing out the spaghetti & wieners|
These kids continue to make a huge impact in my life. The experiences and memories that we share fuel my drive. I am so grateful to God that I never missed the spins and fist bumps!
So... today was an incredible merger of sharing in the provision of filling bellies for a day, as well as teaching a family to eat fresh fish and vegetables for years to come. There is something deep about meeting the immediate need before trying to tackle long term issues. I believe we have an incredible example of that in the gospels.
Digging a hole a meter square requires a specific set of skills that I do not have... tough hands. Although I had on gloves, I felt the burst of multiple blisters on both hands when I was less than 5 minutes into the day. I toughed it out until lunch when I could sit down, dress, and wrap my hands. Then with gloves pulled over the bandages... I was able to attack the job with renewed vigor!
I know it seems weird to say so, but there is something about giving until it hurts, and then continuing to keep on giving that brings tremendous satisfaction and peace. I think it may be a simple as recognizing the value when you experience the cost. My right arm twitches from the effort of the day as I type.
I am thankful to have 3 more days to wrap my hands and invest in living out the proof of the love of God. We all have pain in life. Make the pain meaningful. Find the incredible beauty in a wrapped hand.
I smile as I realize that the man who taught us to meet the immediate need of people first... also fed them with fishes.