Walking side by side with Simret (the founder and director of Trees of Glory), she pointed to a number of projects that a future livestock project would benefit at the CarePoint.
Not only would livestock provide nutritious milk for the 230+ kids attending the CarePoint every day, but excess milk would provide an important source of income as well.
The local markets have staple products like rice, tef, beans, oil and spices available for purchase and trade by the local villagers, but important nutrition sources like milk and eggs are in short supply.
The poultry project, which has been underway at Trees of Glory for a few years has not only provided ample eggs for the children, but has provided a valuable nutrition source for the local villages AND provided an income source for the CarePoint that has made the poultry farm self-sufficient!
It is with this same vision that Simret explained the numerous benefits of a future livestock project that would have far-reaching effects beyond the obvious nutritious milk provided by the cows.
In Ethiopia, where trees and firewood are not in abundance, cow dung is dried and used as a fuel source. The dung can be sold in the local markets to produce income and it can be provided for free to the poorest of families so they can use their small earnings to purchase food instead of fuel.
The dung can also be used to fertilize and replenish the depleted soil as gardens and orchards are being planted at the CarePoint. "Orchards???" I questioned, wondering if I had heard her correctly.
Simret smiled proudly and walked us over to an area where a drip irrigation system had been dug by hand. Soil was being tilled with dung and small apple trees were already planted. Again, not only a valuable future nutrition source for the kids, but an income source when the apples can be supplied in the local markets!
Perhaps the most suprising and inspirational plan is how Trees of Glory has already implemented a bio-fuel system in the kitchen at the CarePoint. Dung, from the few cows already at the CarePoint, is being used within a bio-fuel system to create methane gas that provides fuel on-demand for cooking.
Buffalo Covenant Church in Buffalo, MN came alongside Trees of Glory CarePoint with their annual Christmas Love project to fully fund the new livestock project! Not only to provide pregnant cows to immediately expand the herd when calves are born, but to build a barn to protect and house the cows.
And as the barn nears completion in Ethiopia, the cows are beginning to come home. Three healthy cows have already taken up residence in the nearly completed structure!!