Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Projects to put hope in

Aid work and community development can sometimes wear a person down.  The intents are so good, but often the challenges are so huge and transformative results are elusive.  That is why I constantly seek new ideas, reports, and stories of projects that are really providing great results in this tough country.  Tonight I want to share 2 great projects with you.  I am currently not working with these projects, but I would like to be!

Terraced, irrigated gardens:  I'm currently gathering results of the yield output change in this project, but it looks very promising.  As roads improve and markets develop, every farmer could increase his livelihood by converting a hillside into gardens like these.  Irrigation is lacking in a lot of places, but as electricity spreads into more and more villages, they have a new option of pumping water up from rivers to their fields, which, if they plant the right crops, would easily pay for itself.

Pistachio forests:  You're going to want to click on this picture below to see the bigger image, so go ahead and do that, then come back and read this..... okay did you see the trees on the top of the mountain, and the thin terraces on the lower half?  The trees up high are the remnants of a great pistachio tree forest that covered the hills here.  During the war years when markets were in shambles and people just needed to keep warm in the winter, they began cutting down the trees, working their way up the mountains from the base.  Fortunately their need for heat did not completely exhaust the forests, and some mature trees remained for a time when their produce would fetch a great price.  Today the owners of these trees are sell 15 lbs of pistachios for close to $40 USD!  That's good money!  Big organizations have taken notice of the economic opportunity, and assisted villages in this area in planting pistachio saplings in the terraces, to recreate the former forested hills.  Pistachio trees take around 20 years to mature to fruit-bearing, which is a long investment of time, but regardless, villages are clamoring to get aid help in planting their hills with pistachio trees again!

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