March 28, 2015
By Simon Chambers
PWRDF sent a delegation of diocesan representatives, Youth Council members, a local farmer and PWRDF staff to Cuba in mid-March. They blogged while they were there, and now that they’re home, we will be posting their adventures in their own words. Today’s instalment comes from Chris Pharo, Diocesan Representative from Nova Scotia and PEI.
Our day began very early as we loaded the van to make our way to the Iglesia Vida Abundante in Palmira. We were rewarded for our early start by being able to view a beautiful Cuban sunrise.
We were greeted warmly at our destination by Pastor Barbarita and members of her congregation including those involved in delivering several projects sponsored by the Cuban Council of Churches’ Sustainable Development Program. Two of these projects are funded by PWRDF. Pastor Barbarita serves as the overall coordinator of the projects, which the parish collectively refers to as “What God Has Given Us”.
Our time at Iglesia Vida Abundante started with a brief worship service followed by several brief presentations on the four projects. The two funded by PWRDF include a project called “Planting Seeds” and one called “Conserving What God Has Given Us”.
The first, as the name implies, involves planting and harvesting a wide variety of vegetables including corn, squash and yucca. The total area in production is sixteen acres. The produce from this project is then used to make up food baskets, which are delivered to needy families in the area.
The project has also expanded to include developing a sheep herd, pig production as well as building a herd of milk goats. The income generated from the sale of wool, milk and piglets is then re-invested into the project to allow for the purchase of more seed.
The second project funded by our PWRDF involves teaching techniques to conserve and preserve food. PWRDF funds were used to construct a small kitchen and equip it with the necessary pieces such as a high efficiency charcoal burning stove and a fruit dryer. The kitchen produces purees, vinegar, dried fruit and medicinal herbs.
After the presentations we were put to work! We divided into three groups and were assigned to plant yucca, plant vegetables and produce vinegar. Pastor Barbarita shared with us that the congregation wished to be able to harvest and preserve food which had been planted by their Canadian friends as a reminder of our visit.
The day concluded with a very heartfelt thank you from Pastor Barbarita for the support PWRDF has provided to make this work possible.
As a Diocesan Representative I found this day very moving in many ways. To actually see the work that is supported by PWRDF is amazing. To hear what a difference our support is making to those in this faith community and beyond is to witness the Holy Spirit in action.