Amidst the many projects and much hard work here at The Esther School is the first of our attempts at creating long-term sustainability for the school by establishing income-generating endeavors. In lieu of paying fees, the parents of children at The Esther School are asked to share their time and talents, providing 16 hours of volunteer service per child per month. Some of the parents volunteer in the classrooms: helping to cook, clean, facilitate many bathroom trips and about 400 washed hands a day, lead activities, and generally provide structure to the day. Other parents have been or are currently engaged in special projects or maintenance of campus. Most, however, spend their time tending our small farm and garden.

Fraught, of course, with as many challenges as successes, we have been working hard and learning much from this initiative. We have encountered some difficulty in successfully marketing some of the produce, especially that which is unfamiliar to people here. We have had some very committed individuals and families, though, and have been able not only to sell some product, but also to produce enough to contribute to the school feeding program on several occasions. We have been able to raise a modest amount of income so far, but are primarily setting the pace and precedent that we hope will fuel the school for generations. Please continue to pray for unity and cooperation as we work together and for a bountiful harvest of food and hope!

We hope to continue to share some more updates on projects around campus over the next few weeks. We have been very busy and the campus seems to be changing almost daily! For now, please enjoy some pictures of the first ever fruits of The Esther School gardens!

20130311-151356.jpg We have planted groundnuts (peanuts)...

20130311-151747.jpg Squash...

20130311-151859.jpg Cucumbers...

20130311-152000.jpg Okra (a local favorite)...

20130311-152121.jpg Green beans...

20130311-152247.jpg Loads of pumpkins...

20130311-152400.jpg ...and other squash and zucchini varieties...

20130311-152533.jpg Local cooking beans...

20130311-152635.jpg And, of course, maize!

20130311-153029.jpg You can't be in Zambia and not grow lots of maize!