The Farm

Gardening Adventures

Gardening in Urukundo Village is a bit different, but our volunteers were very interested in agriculture and one of our teachers was game. It is back breaking work but well worth the pain.  Well that is my thought but I only watch! Building kitchen gardens requires a certain amount of skill and a lot of back breaking labor.

Tools are make-do using what we have available.

Nothing stopped our volunteers from completing the task!

Nina, and the two Carols hard at work.

Cloth animal feed sacks, 2 foot sticks whittled to a point by Carol Baney, a hammer, a machete or large knife and a desire to play in the dirt are the requirements most needed to build a Kitchen Garden.

The Farm

The need for more manure for the biogas for cooking and more milk for the children was a challenge.  Thanks to you out there enough money came so we could find a good breed and bring her home.

Flossie has come to take care of both problems.

THANK YOU, to all who contributed to covering the cost for obtaining this necessary addition to our farm. She is ½ paid for. God in charge. The rest will come.

She is beautiful.  I do mean the cow.

The Farm

Our gardens and the animals are helping feed our children and provide nutrition for our school children.  We also have produce to sell to the community - vegetables, milk & eggs.

Here's our January 2014 farmyard inventory:

2 milk cows & 2 calves.

1 male pig.

1 pregnant sow.

1 new mother with 9 piglets.

1 young sow.

We have 64 rabbits producing. These are used for food and are sold to buyers.

The chicken project is awesome!

The last big chicken house is completed. A septic system is in place, a chicken tiller and our incubator are successful.

We have:

Layers- 200 for eggs production.

Broilers- 300  2 1/2 month old.

Chicks- 300 month old and 300 baby chicks.

It is our goal to purchase 200 day old chicks and to sell 200 full grown Broilers each month. 

Our broilers are sold to hotels and restaurants. After 3 ½ months.

Another source of Revenue.  We are trying to help ourselves. It is all a learning process.

The Farm

Planting & Harvesting
December is when our gardens grow. This year the rains have been perfect. A beautiful lush green picture which has been hard work but worth every second.
Kitchen Garden cabbage this year. We rotate crops. Most of our seeds for this planting came from friends in New Ringgold PA and we are very grateful!
Corn & beans
Flowers make the gardens even more lovely.
The Animals
Our papa pig did a fine job.  Mama gave birth to 9 babies.

From the Farm

Christmas dinner for the Urukundo Family. These turkeys are a gift from Bruce and Margie Krogh and family. I really like buying them at the supermarket already dressed or undressed how ever you look at it. I don't like getting to know the birds on a first name basis. Oh the life of a farmer.
Bruce and Margie Krogh and some of their family from the US  are going to spend Christmas with the children at Urukundo. The Krogh family have taken Urukundo on as their Christmas project and are making Christmas special for our kids. We are so excited!
Urukundo's kids are preparing a program to present to our guests.
There will be a time of worship, the children will present songs of the seasons and a play about the arrival of the Christ Child.
They are practicing "AWAY IN A MANGER", "JINGLE BELLS", "HAVE A JOLLY HOLLY CHRISTMAS" and a few others. Such fun.
Jenny will play the baby in the presentation as Jacob at 10 months old would object, much like Johnny did several years ago. Johnny is five now.
Pictures will be in the December Newsletter and some on Facebook.

News from the Farm

June brought a wonderful team from State College to the children's farm - Joanne, Paul, Kira and Dave.

They worked wonders at the farm. The silage project included farmers from the community.
What a team!
The Agriculture Team enjoyed the children and worked very hard making improvements on the farm.
Paul with double trouble - Agide and Kenny.
Two Davids - best buddies.
Project Chicken Tiller
This tiller house for chickens is on wheels and can be easily moved. it is my understanding that it is not only good for the chickens but fertilizes the land for future planting.
The chickens are happy. They like scratching in the dirt.
The kids think the new house for chickens is great.
Claude and Becca inspecting the new project. They approve.
Project Pigs
The children at Saint Pauls UMC State College Sunday School class made buying our kids a new male pig their project.
With the money they collected we were able to purchase a male and also a female pig. Our kids at Urukundo send their thanks!
(Date on the camera is acting up again).
Kids inspect the new papa pigs.
The boys walked with me on my morning inspection - Soso and Claude peer in at the fence opening.

The Farm

Rework was done on the protective fences this month which you can see in the pictures.
 
When does one cow equal two cows?
Well, I found out it is better to feed one cow giving 22 liters of milk a day, than to feed two cows, one giving 8 liters a day and the other giving none since insemination did not seem to work for her.  Not even a visit from a male friend worked. Yes, the manure is more for Bio-gas production but the food is also much more costly.
The new farm manager Eugene is very aware, and wants our animal farm to become a successful source of revenue. And so it was decided to sell the 2 unproductive cows and with the money buy a single productive cow.  We now have two cows instead of three.
Making sure you are getting what you are paying for is interesting. Our manager visited the prospective cow when least expected and sat through the milking in order to verify that she did give 22 liters of good milk every day. Only after several weeks of checking did he OK the purchase. She is a much bigger cow and provides the milk needed for our kids with 5 liters of milk available for sale.   

Our milk provider. No name. I find it better not to name the anmals so I greet her in the morning with a pat on the white spot and a "Hello Cow". She doessn't seem to mind one bit.
Mama cow # 1 gave birth in February to a female calf.
So even though two cows are gone we still have two cows and a calf.
News to come: report on the chicken part of our farm next month.

This Month's Presentation : The Farm and its Place in the Vision

Here are the facts. We hope to be a self sufficient organization one day.  For the last four years we have taken definite steps toward making this HOPE REAL.  It is happening. In 2007, with the vision already in place, we purchased our first land which we used for the chickens.  The poultry farm started with this piece of land, 1 small house and 40 Rwandan free-range chickens. It has now grown to 2 large houses and 300 quality layers. The original small house is now an incubator for baby chicks, layers to replace older layers when they stop producing and become the makings of chicken soup. Our chickens provide eggs for our children - one egg a week for our preschool kids - and we have a good market in the Gitarama and Ream hotels which buy all the eggs we can produce. Some customers order from Kigali - our eggs are good eggs!

Alongside the layers we have 4 houses for broiler chickens. Broilers are raised for meat and we have 200 in each house. They are purchased as day old chicks, raised for 3 months and shipped to the market.  These are also sold by the kilo. Each month the oldest chickens go to market and new day old chicks take their place.

Next on the production chain are rabbits. We have a rabbit hutch big enough for 60 rabbits. We sell the overflow to others who want to start their own hutches and we slaughter and freeze the rest. It is a good meat for our kids and we also sell it to the community. Goats are raised only for meat. We just slaughtered 6, packaged and froze them for future use. We do not keep a lot of them as they are hard to control. They can escape through the tiniest holes in the fence. Then they are never seen again.

We are blessed to have been given a donation to buy a large freezer by a group in Canada. Our electricity fluctuates but the generator kicks on and all is well. We are able to freeze meat and vegetables to help
with food costs.

Another revenue source is our pigs. Yes, we do breed pigs. We have 5 mama pigs and one strong male.  Each mama gives birth to 9 or more piglets at a time. The piglets sell very well.  We may in time butcher
pigs, but not yet. Pork is not a big seller in the country markets. Rwandans are just beginning to appreciate pork and to serve it in some restaurants.

We have two cows. One gives enough milk for our babies, the second one will give birth in two months and we will have milk for all the kids.  In time with our own eggs and milk we hope to start a small bakery.
We will experiment on our own kids and if the bread and cakes are good we could start a small business in the community.

With manure from pigs and cows we have developed a Bio-gas field and now cook with bio-gas instead of all wood. We are helping the environment, having less smoke in our kitchen and making a healthier
work place for our cooks.

Our vegetable gardens are awesome. We harvest, feed our kids, share with our neighbors and sell in the market. Felicitie and Benjimin are in charge of the gardens.

LOOKING AHEAD
Next months presentation will be the Urukundo Learning Center.
I would like to be able to report then that the school is ready to receive 50 students in January 2013 but unless the funding happens the school will not be ready for the new term. If you intended to contribute to the building fund and have been putting it off now would be a good time to include that in your end of the year giving Hope Made Real is a 501c3 organization.

The Farm

We have babies!

1 female baby goat.

9 baby pigs

and 300 baby chicks.

The rabbits continue to multiply.

The Vet from Austria examined our pregnant cow and informed us she will deliver in 2 1/2 to 3 months. So a baby calf is on the way, perhaps around Christmas time. That would be nice. The mama is Daisy's calf (read about Daisy's eye surgery) and she was raised on our farm. This is a first for us. We are praying it will be a girl.