Orange You Grateful? [Jeff’s 2nd Guest Blog from Myanmar]

18 Dec

Orange You Grateful? [Jeff’s 2nd Guest Blog from Myanmar]

Dear Friends,

Team member Jeff Trotter did so well on his first “guest blog,” that I asked him to write another. Below is his good report from today’s adventure! — David

Lian Thang and his wife, Bia Sui Nen, holding the fruit of their labors

Orange You Grateful?

Jeff Trotter’s 2nd Guest Blog from Myanmar

Dear Friends,

After several days of meeting families in villages where Heaven’s Family is just beginning to work—and where parents are still sending their children away to institutional child care facilities (aka, orphanages)—it was refreshing to finally visit some villages where Heaven’s Family is turning that tide of children through micro-loans. Having first met the people of Maul Zawl and Zatwal, neighboring villages in Northeast Chin State, in 2010, I was excited to see their progress.

I have not been disappointed! Signs of prosperity abound: improved and expanded homes, happy faces, and more of everything, from motorbikes to TVs to babies. In fact, it seems there is a bit of a baby boom going on here! Delightful children are scurrying everywhere, uncertain of what to make of the strange-looking foreign visitors—especially the ones with the big, scary-looking cameras (like me)!

Above and below: a few of the beautiful little faces in Mawl Zawl and Zatwal villages

As I interviewed families who borrowed funds from Heaven’s Family a few years ago to start businesses—most of which are agricultural—I kept hearing the same story: they are prospering.

That’s the story I heard from Lian Thang and Bia Sui Nen, his wife, when they gave me a tour of their orange grove. Before borrowing from Heaven’s Family, they practiced slash-and-burn agriculture, a method of farming that strips the land of nutrients and makes it vulnerable to erosion and landslides during the monsoon season.

“Oranges are a better crop,” Lian said, “because they will support us when we are old.” With two separate loans from Heaven’s Family totaling about $1,000, Lian built a concrete cistern that he uses to irrigate his trees during the dry winter season, and he also bought organic fertilizer. Both of his loans were repaid on time.

And then there is Iang Nei Dim, a woman who, with her husband Tio Nawn, farms and processes elephant foot yam. Today she is busy peeling dozens of yams with the help (sort of) from her 2-year-old son Bawi Tha Lian.

After peeling, she dices them up and dries them, either in the sun or, when it is cloudy or rainy, in a wood-fueled dehydrator.

Once processed, the dried pieces go to markets in China, where this high-demand cash crop reaps Iang and her husband a relatively comfortable living in their village. With their profits they’ve purchased a cow that they’ll slaughter one day for meat, a motorbike and a TV. Iang also is happy her husband “does not have to go to Malaysia (a more prosperous country over 1,000 miles to the South) to make money,” a desperate option that many poor Chin State villagers choose.

Iang Nei Dim peeling elephant foot yam. About 5 times as many yams are to the right of the ones you see in my photo—2 days work peeling them all, she said. (Notice her very shy 2-year-old son hiding behind her!)

At left, the kiln that dries peeled and diced yams; at right, Bawi Tha Lian later decided I wasn’t so threatening after all!

There are many additional success stories to tell you about in the coming months. If you want to get involved helping the poor lift themselves through micro-credit, it is easy as investing in Heaven’s Family’s Micro-Loan Ministry. And what a blessing it is to know that your investment will continue to help the poor, as repaid funds are perpetually loaned again!

Together with Him,

Jeff Trotter

Parting Shots…

The children of Mawl Zawl village jumped at the chance to ride 100 yards in one of our SUVs through the village. It’s likely that none of them have ever been inside a vehicle before today.

A dust-covered SUV is irresistible to creative fingers!

A very thoughtful young man

Team leader Stephen Servant takes time to pose with a happy little girl

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