I had a suprise e-mail from an aquaculture colleague recently, asking if there was anything that the Rotary Club of Truro could help me with in my next trip to Congo. This was fantastic news, since I had previously decided to take a couple of suitcases of gifts to our Regional Coordinator, Emmanuel Dole and his family, as well soccer gear for school kids (October 7th post). I had also wanted to take enough cash along to purchase gifts (local pond farming tools) for fish farmers that I visit during my travels.
So I enthusiastically put together a list (she told me to not be shy about its length). Within a couple of weeks, she replies with a box-full of items for the Dole family. And for the things they weren't able to get from the list, a cheque for $650 was included! Awesome! My sincere thanks to the Rotary Club.
I intend to use the majority of that amount to purchase tools for fish farmers. That's a sizeable dose of shovels, hoes, or axes for upgrade of existing ponds or construction of new ones.
I recognize that gifts are not the solution to food security issues and development in general. But we are at a stage of revitalizing the fish farming sector in that region by investing confidence, demonstrating to fish farmers that we are coming alongside them to help rebuild after a long absence.
Our efforts in the Congo are having a very real impact on lives of fish farming families. This has been reinforced by a World Hope colleague who recently visited the region and spoke with leaders on the value of this project. We are injecting life and improving food security. We have plans for ongoing support and deliberate strategies to increase productivity. Onward and upward.