Elusive Archbishop of the slums

It is easy to categorise and be categorised. In many places in society the only way to get ahead is to sublimate yourself in the colours of the tribe.

But a true mark of faith and healthy personality is that you are ‘elusive’ to the box-carrying, label-making mechanisms of our world.

Jesus told a man, who was feeling an elusive breeze rustling through his straight-jacket religion, that:

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8

There is something of this about Pope Francis and, as he prepares to visit the US, it has the American box cutters in a frenzy.

There is cause for hope in this archbishop of the slums.

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Farm in a bag brings food to the slums

The greatest population  movement in human history is underway as people on all continents leave rural areas and flood into ever-larger cities.

Africa is no exception and one community organisation has devised a way to bring the farm to the city, even the crowded slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

Life is hard in Nairobi’s densely populated slums but thanks to the innovative farm-in-a-sack project, some residents at least are able to return to their agricultural roots.

Poor families in the Mathare slum are given more than 40 seedlings which can be grown into food in just a few weeks. And even though the streets are narrow and garbage is strewn everywhere, mini-farms are cropping up on spare land.

The project was started by the Italian organisation Cooperazione Internazionale  (COOPI), which brought in rural agriculturists to teach community groups how to create vegetable farms in the slums.

COOPI provided each participating household with one sack containing soil mix and 43 seedlings to cultivate: 25 spinach, 15 kale, 2 capsicum and 1 spring onion. 

The vegetables can be harvested many times for at least one year. Capsicum and spring onions provide passive pest control instead of chemicals while the spinach is a rapid growing source of nutrition – sometimes even growing out of the side of the sack before being properly planted.

Claudio Torres, from COOPI, said of the project: ‘There are two effects. First people really have more food,  nutrition and micronutrients. But also, this brings together the community.’

Earlier this year, it was inspiring to meet in Sydney Pastor Evans Mage from Nairobi who is planting churches through the slums. How amazing it would be to join his spiritual planting with this natural planting, to truly change lives. PH (Source: CNN)