The CAFOD group at St George’s parish in Norwich, Norfolk, has been standing in solidarity with communities overseas for years. The parish group holds events every month of the year, including fundraising events such as marmalade sales, parish lunches and Christmas lucky dips. This Advent they also sold two nativity sets, which they made out of fabric.
Today was the long journey back to the capital city of Niamey. The journey was certainly long but by no means tedious and I keep reminding myself of the privilege of being here and experiencing the life of the people and a place which could not be much further removed from life in Manchester.
Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, is currently visiting Niger. He will be visiting CAFOD partners there, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church.
Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia
Laura Ouseley works in CAFOD’s Media team. This Harvest, inspired by the efforts of our partners in Bolivia, Laura tells us about her own struggles for vegetable garden bliss.
I’ve only had my allotment a couple of years, but have already learnt so much. My friends and family have also learnt – the hard way – that it is now my favourite (and they would argue, only) topic of conversation!
Whilst I’ve discovered so much about the different varieties of fruit and vegetables that can be grown, I’ve learnt far more about the challenges faced by the grower: from fighting back pests, preventing the spread of disease, removing stubborn weeds and preparing soil, to trying to deal with the impacts of unpredictable weather and climate.
Today, on CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day, so many of our brothers and sisters around the world are still not able to grow enough food. Sally Kitchener shares one mother’s mission to grow enough food and how you can support her along her journey.
As the midday sun beats down on the Bolivian Altiplano, Nicanora swings the heavy wooden hoe into the soil once more and prises up half a dozen small potatoes. She pauses, straightens, and rests a hand on her aching back. The 32-year-old mother of four has been working since dawn. But however hard she works, Nicanora knows that when she gets to the end of the day, her children will still go to bed hungry.
“The days when we don’t have much food, we eat a soup of ground barley mixed with water,” says Nicanora, her gaze resting on the failing onion crop by her side. “When we eat just this soup all day, we get tired very quickly.”
With last year’s food store about to run out and the next harvest still three months away, the family are facing crisis point. Two months ago, Nicanora’s husband Santiago was forced to leave the family farm in search of income. Every day for the past two months Nicanora has risen at dawn and worked the land on her own. Tomorrow she will do the same, because she doesn’t know when her husband will return.
Starting in April 2014, nearly two thousand dedicated CAFOD supporters joined Hands On, and over the past two years have been funding an incredible water project in Kitui, eastern Kenya. As the project comes to an end, Sally Kitchener looks at the impact of these generous donations.
Tabitha holds the small plastic rain gauge up to the light to take the reading. She carefully leans over, balances a blue chart on her knee and writes down the measurement. It’s another zero. It should be the beginning of the rainy season here in Kitui, Kenya, but Tabitha’s rain gauge hasn’t recorded a drop of rain for months.
Two years ago, the late rains would have been a disaster for Tabitha and her family. With their local reservoir dried up, and the nearest river two hours’ walk away, the lack of rain would have meant thirst, hunger, and illness. But since then, Tabitha’s life has changed dramatically.
Tania Dalton works in CAFOD’s Latin America Team. As we celebrate the success of our two year water project in Kitui, Tania reflects on the long-term development projects she’s been part of in her time with CAFOD, and their ongoing impact today.
I am blessed to work in CAFOD’s Latin America team: my life is constantly enriched by the people I encounter. Seeing change over time is especially wonderful. The Ana Manganaro Clinic in Guarjila, El Salvador, is a great example of taking the long view. I visited it first in 2004, and again earlier this year. In those twelve years, it transformed from a small building where community health workers received training in the yard, to a comprehensive rural health centre, with a maternity care unit, dentist, nutritionist, physiotherapist and other key health services. In 2010, the clinic integrated with the Ministry of Health. Now it serves 16,500 people across eight municipalities and is recognised as a model for rural health services.