There is a lot of progress on the farm. In the previous blog we wrote about the huge amount of money raised by Sprankel and Warmlopers. With this amount and other gifts we have been able to purchase a whole herd of goats: 38 adult goats, 20 ‘teens’ and 20 kids! 3 Goats were purchased a few weeks ago. The big herd came this week at Farm of Nambikay. The youngest kids have been brought to the farm with the tuktuk, and Uthayan and Siva (worker) have taken the goat herd (and the herd grazing) in about 8 hours to the farm. In the meantime, the new stable is well used. It is very special to experience this in our final week at the farm.
The fencing of the goat section of the farm is finished, and the old goat’s stable has been renovated so that it can be used when goats have to be set apart. Also, paddy has been sown for the 2nd time. We can do that because we have enough water on the farm. For local farmers it’s different, they depend on the irrigation channels, and these are either dry or low on water. So most farmers cannot cultivate paddy for the 2nd time, which means less income this year.
Siva, our worker, had a huge setback, he had a hand between the tractor, and he now misses a fingertip from one of his fingers. The day he got home from a hospital, he was already walking around the farm to see what it was like – he has a farmers-heart. In the meantime he took op work again, and he is happy to do so.
After considering everything (deliberations, advices in Sri Lanka and the board of Farm of Nambikay), we have decided to sell the cows and calves. It’s too labour intensive, also in farm management without Uthayan present. The milk yield is at average too low, the climate is too harsh. This in combination with other factors, e.g. the focus of the government of Sri Lanka on large dairy farms. The farm has been unable to deliver milk at the milk collection point a number of times in recent months, and we expect that the required factors for profit will not improve soon. It was a difficult decision, because Farm of Nambikay has had cows from the start. Nevertheless, Uthayan experiences that it is a good decision. The goats are already profitable, less vulnerable and it is much less labor intensive and also less complicated farm management in the local context here.
During these weeks, together with members of the local churches, we discussed how to utilise the profit of Farm of Nambikay for the vulnerable people. Which activities should be taken up, how to follow up, etc. We had a good time together.
Recently, a research student visited the farm and surrounding area. His research is about agrotourism, and we would like to be open for this in the near future on the farm. Recently a book has been published about Mannar and it’s surrounding area, about history, culture and nature. And the Giant’s Tank where the farm is located is on the list of the must-see places J. The first floor of the house that we are constructing with our own money is almost finished, and thus our first guest rooms!
Two young people from our Dutch church congregation have been with us for two weeks! Very nice! They have been immersed in Sri Lankan life, at a girls home and at a boys home they organised sport/game evenings. They saw a glimpse of these children’s lifes and they met teenagers who cannot live at home due to all kinds of sad circumstances. They also helped a week at the farm, sanding and varnishing of the window frames etc, it was quite a job. The window- and door frames are not factory-made, so there is still a lot of work to do before the door is ready. Now they are enjoying traveling around Sri Lanka.
In less than two weeks, we will fly back to Düsseldorf and end our year Sri Lanka. The year has flown by! Hannah, Nathan and Daniel have had their farewell at school and they said goodbye to their classmates and friends. It’s nice to see what they’ve built up in friendships in a year, especially for the boys the start at school was very difficult. Uthayan and Jakolien are finishing their work in Sri Lanka. There are definitely open ends, one year is too short. Nevertheless, once again we experience God’s care and His guidance and we rest in our decision to be here for one year.
We have finished our first part of our move, and have left our beautiful home in Manipay. This week we are with Uthayan’s parents, and near the farm. After a couple of days in the capital, our flight will be on August 2nd.
We look back on a beautiful year in Sri Lanka. We are very grateful that we have been able to do this as a family! For Farm of Nambikay it has been very positive. And also for us as a family, it was great to be close to the family in Sri Lanka and for the children to discover their Sri Lankan roots. Positive and difficult moments were part of it, it was a year to never forget. Thank you for your involvement! It was great to read the comments on our blogs, emails, apps, knowing that you pray for us, fundraising,… we are grateful and experience God’s care and blessing so that each one of us could be a blessing for others. Uthayan hopes to visit the farm again in November. For Jakolien and the children it will take a couple of years before we can go back to Sri Lanka for vacation.
Would you like to join us in prayers?
• Thank for this precious year with the positive and difficult moments;
• Thank for your engagement we experienced so strongly;
• Thank for how the Farm of Nambikay is now;
• Thank for the increasing involvement of the local churches;
• Thank for the first profit shared through local churches to support vulnerable people;
• Pray for the Farm of Nambikay and the workers, to keep good progress;
• Pray for activities with the farm’s profits and local churches;
• Pray for good winding up in Sri Lanka and a good start back in Zwolle, especially for the children;
• Pray for a job opportunity for Uthayan.
Impressions July 2017