A week of tireless work for the Food for Life trainers had produced the first ever Aquaponics System in Madagascar, it was History in the Making. Now it was testing time! The trainees (and us trainers too) gathered closely around the system.
All of us kind of holding our breath as the pump pushed the final liters of water to the top of the syphon tube. I am not one to worry but I must admit my stomach was a bit in knots right then.
Suddenly the water began to trickle from the discharge lines and swoosh the lines filled and began to flow. An eruption of cheers rang forth followed by what has become the traditional… clap, clap, clap…clap, clap, clap…woosh! as hands rose toward the heavens.
As we hugged each other and shook hands exchanging smiles tears of joy filled my heart and eyes. It was such a joy to see the sense of accomplishment in the eyes of our trainees and their recognition that God is the author of it all. I am so blessed to have witnessed it. Wish you all could too!
Aquaponics is a complete food producing cycle that uses fish waste water to supply nutrients to vegetables that are grown in a gravel medium. The gravel and plant roots purify the water which returns to the fish tank as fresh oxygenated water which promotes fish growth and therefore fish as protein for human consumption, the biggest limiting factor in developing world diets.
It’s been a couple weeks of coming up against hurdles and figuring ways around them time and time again but it’s been worth it. Now we’re in the tweaking phase getting it adjusted. We have put fish in twice and only lost 1 of 70 which is amazing.
Tomorrow 200 more are will be added. Tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, eggplant and papaya were planted on Saturday and they are doing great. Monday means seeds hit the gravel grow beds. The trainers are amazed that vegetables can be grown in stones.
This week is seed planting in the Aquaponics system, the importance of mulching on land, preparation of Ginger syrup, soya milk, yogurt and what might be enhanced in the animal projects and gardens.
I am making a big salad for lunch for all on Tuesday from our fresh organic produce. And by the way since starting our rabbits and chicken projects in December we have now had 40 some chicks hatch and the rabbits have gone from 8 to 60. People who have come from the area and tried our food products are coming back as return customers, which are really charging up the trainees.
A couple of areas we could use your prayers in are
– Ken Winebark, Agriculture Program Administrator