Monday, October 15, 2012

First Test Harvest Project for KBI Complete!

A few months ago we were advised by a friend of ours, James Yoder, to clear a wide path between the Institute land and the village next door that was stealing our trees. That way it would be harder for them to sneak onto our land and steal wood. Instead of just letting that land sit there, we decided to plant some corn.
 The total area ended up being around 10 acres. We paid some men to plant the corn by hand and decided that on our first time through we wouldn't spend the money on expensive fertilizers.
The corn looked really good, but we weren't sure what problems might arise, whether from worms, grasshoppers, or parrots... Once the corn had matured, we paid somebody else to fold over all of the stalks so that the corn would dry in the field upside down. It needs to be upside down or flocks of little green parrots will come and eat all of your corn.
Finally this past week it was time to harvest. Anybody can come and work, and they get paid by the sackful. Each sack weighs around 125 lbs. Kids are out of school right now, so entire families came out together to pick corn. Most of these families were from the village next to us.
To get paid they had to bring the sacks to a house on the property we are using as a temporary barn. The women couldn't carry the whole 125 lbs, so they would bring it in smaller batches and our guard, Tony, would fill up the sacks for them. (He is in the center in the above photo.)
 The first day we filled up 50 sacks and the second day 90 more were filled.
At 125 pounds each, that's around 17,500 pounds. From each of these sacks there should be around 110 pounds of kernels (which is the only way you can sell it) for 15,400 pounds of corn. A 100 pound sack will feed a family of 4-5 for a month. 
 The purpose of planting this corn is three-fold. One, it generates some income for the Institute and provides jobs for our neighbors, (which helps with the ever going struggle we have with them). After everybody gets paid, we should net around $2,000. That's $2,000 more than if we had just let it sit there. 

The third purpose though was to test one of our projects. Each student will have 2 acres to farm and I make the case that he only needs to plant corn on 1/3 of that to have enough corn to eat. The other 2/3 will be used for other crops like tomatoes, chiles, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and a fish pond. Also, by only planting 1/3 with corn, each time they can plant a different section of their field with corn and have an 18 month rotation. I could go on and on, but let's just say there are lots of benefits. Our students will have lots of fertilizer from the chicken projects and the fish projects, but what we saw this first time was that with no fertilizer, only 1/4 of the land our students will have to farm supplied enough corn for our first 20 students and their families to last 7.5 months! At two harvests per year we have more than enough. 
 At the end of the day, there was one lady left at the back of our property with 8 sacks full, but was afraid she wouldn't get it all to the barn before it rained, so thankfully I was there cutting grass around our lime trees and could haul her corn for her. What we pay for 8 sacks of corn is more than a block mason makes in a day, so this is a good job for people during the harvest season.
{Her and one of her daughters}


  1. Amazing. We are continually humbled and encouraged by your deep love of the Lord & the people you serve. What a great idea that has come to fruition because of your hard work & leadership. Praying for you.
    The Atkinson Family

    1. Hey guys!!! So good to hear from you! Thanks for reading=) Hope your family is doing great!

  2. Isn't God Awesome!!! A great illustration for the future - God's provision!

    I sure hope I get to come down there and see all of this first-hand! I miss Guatemala! But I also would love to find a way to help out in some way.

    If it's God's will - I'll be able to come!

    1. We'd love to have you come visit and see the work here!


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