Farm

Update on the Farm – We Have Beans (and more!)

Rainy season is over, for which everyone is (temporarily!) thankful. Of course, now it’s hot… TIA! (“This is Africa!” which explains pretty much everything!)

This fall has been exceptionally wet and cold, so Ronald and Fauza weren’t really sure what they’d find at the farm when they got out for a visit.

They were wowed!

Apparently, it wasn’t too cold, because the plants have done amazingly well. What all’s happening?

Beans are ready to harvest – look how beautiful they are!

The matoke (top photo) is coming along great.

The maize is starting to put on cobs.

The new banana saplings have all rooted firmly in the earth.

The cassava is lush and we can get a second harvest from them soon.

With the latrine done, the house finished, and the perimeter fence up, we’ve accomplished SO much in just 3 1/2 short months!

The project is 64% funded, so we’re at a pause except for planting some moringa, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and other crops. But once we’re at 100% (well, really, as the funding comes in) we’ll be able to take the project to the next level.

What’s still to do?

  • Build the greenhouse
  • Dig the well
  • Buy the grain mill for the maize
  • Construct the coop for chickens and pen for goats
  • Hire a full-time farmer/caretaker

We are so thankful for our volunteer farmer, Pastor Moses, who has overseen everything so far, cleared the land, planted, and tended the crops. He’s also the one who told Ronald about the land, so we are very indebted to him!

With Giving Tuesday and year-end giving coming up, we’d be honored if you’d consider giving to the farm project as part of your end-of-year giving plan. 100% goes to the project, and you’ll have the benefit of seeing the whole thing unfold here and on social media.

We so appreciate your support!

Webele nyo,

Jennings

PS If you want to give now – $25 can help us buy seeds for the next crops! – just click the button!

FABULOUS FARM FUNDS!

PSS DON’T FORGET to get your free ticket to hear my talk on the 11th at the Expat Money Summit, which started on Monday. The Summit started yesterday and there are loads of other great speakers talking about really interesting topics like investing.

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October Has Already Been Exciting!

WOW!

October has been amazing!

Here’s what going on at Touch the Slum (and Wells of Hope Primary School) already this month:

GRADUATION

Our biggest-ever graduation happened on Saturday and it was amazing! I’ll be making a video to put on our YouTube channel this week, but for now, you can see the joy in the girls’ faces above as 35 graduated in Literacy, Tailoring, Advanced Tailoring, and Hairdressing. We had quite the fashion show thanks to the Advanced Tailoring girls — you’ll have to wait for the video or check out the Reel I posted on Sunday on Instagram.

The project for graduation funded 100% on Sunday, which was wonderful! We ended up having to rent a tent because of the weather, and the regular costs add up, too. So we’re really grateful for the support!

WEBSITE

HUGE thanks go out to Board member Mikkel Thorup and his Project Manager Dom Alves (who lives in Brazil!) for a complete re-do of our website. We’d been on SquareSpace for a long time because, well, it’s easy! But it lacked functionality, and we were ready to be able to do some new things with it. It launched this past weekend, and we’re SUPER happy and grateful — check it out and let us know what you think!

SHOW ME THE WEBSITE!

WELLS OF HOPE PRIMARY

Some of you will remember from my last visit that Wells of Hope had gotten a loan to build a second brick building, but didn’t have the money for the concrete floors, blackboards, windows or desks. We’ve been chipping away at that on DonorSee, funding the blackboards, and going one class at a time for desks and windows.

A local donor funded the cement floors, which was amazing. Then last week, we got the first 5 windows put in. That so inspired someone that Gideon knew that they donated the remaining 19 windows! Now all we need is 12 sets of the glass inserts, and we’re rain-proof.

We also funded the 3rd classroom’s desks! The order went in for those yesterday, so we’ll be installing them in a week or so. Then on to classroom #4.

This is HUGE for the incredibly poor village of Rwakobo – who didn’t have a school EVER until Wells of Hope opened in 2019. (And then closed for 2 years thanks to government pandemic policies.) Gideon and everyone out there is amazed by the generosity shown to their little school, and we really are so grateful.

And y’all – it’s only October 4th!

Thank you so much for following along with us on this great journey.

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS We are planning our holiday cards EARLY this year! (I know, it’s a shock!) If we don’t have your physical address, we’d love to add you to our mailing list so you can get the occasional greeting from Ten Eighteen. Just hit Reply – we won’t share, spam, or visit, we promise!

Update on the Farm – Put a Roof On It!

Ronald picked a great day to go out to the farm yesterday – look at the blue sky! It’s been SO wet this rainy season in the Kampala area, and even worse in the west.

This is Hopeland School on Sunday! Not good…

Anyway, back to the FARM.

As you can see, the roof work is underway and nearing completion. The doors and windows have been ordered and are being made. The cement was poured for the floors on a dry day – which was followed by NOT dry days, but it’s finally hardened. And look at the beans growing out front!

The rains will last a few more weeks. (Then we’ll be complaining about it being dry, I’m sure!) Meanwhile, they’re pressing on with the construction as the weather allows, and it’s looking so good!

The farm project is 63% funded, which is amazing. We do need the other 37% to come in in order to be able to get everything done that we have planned, like the greenhouse, the grain mill, and the bore hole. But we’ve made HUGE progress since July 11 when we launched (only 2 1/2 months!!), and we’re so grateful to you for your support.

If you know anyone who might be interested in donating to this sustainable farm project, please pass the email along. 100% goes to the project, so even a small donation really goes a long way. We’d love for you to also consider it for some of your year end giving budget (because holy cow it’s almost October!).

Thanks for believing in us and for helping us create lasting and sustainable lives for teen moms and teen girls in the slum. We never, ever take that for granted and are so amazed at your continuing support. Webele nyo!

Blessings,

Jennings

PS Here’s the link for the farm. When you go to DonorSee, make sure to Follow us, too, so you can keep up with all we’re doing there. We always have 12-15 projects up at a time — many more than I can update you on in a short newsletter!

TAKE ME TO THE FARM!

What’s Next for the Farm?

When Ronald found this land, the most noticeable WOW was that it had a home already started. It’s a multi-room brick structure with a garage — the former owner had planned to move there before all the pandemic lockdowns and inflation. That’s a HUGE bonus, as we’d planned to have to build a house for our caretaker from scratch, and while it’s bigger than anything we would have built, we will be sure to maximize all the space.

With the cost of things right now, we won’t be able to finish out the whole building at one time, but our next project is finishing the garage area into a home, with a roof, windows, doors, and floor. We’ll also make another room into a store room for tools and supplies.

Moses, who has been helping us with everything out there, is getting the quote together, and hopefully we’ll be able to start this work next week! And that’s all thanks to YOU and your amazing generosity in funding this project. We’re at 63% now, and would love your help to get us over the finish line soon! There’s a button below.

Meanwhile, look at the cassava in the photo above! Once Moses cleared the weeds and invasive plants out (and sprayed for bugs!), we realized we had a LOT more stuff already growing than we thought. There is a lot of cassava (yuca in Central and South America), and Ronald and Fauza were able to bring some back to Touch the Slum for Mama Santa to cook up. Cassava is great, because you yank it up, harvest the big tubers, then replant it and let it keep going.

We also have mature matoke and mango trees and have planted bananas. Moses is getting us free beans for planting, as well as some small trees from a friend. We’re looking into moringa – we may be able to get some small trees free from the government!

This project already means so much to our team, and now we’ve brought home the first produce… It’s truly amazing, and we can’t thank you enough!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

DONATE: FARM PROJECT!

PS I did a one-hour interview with DonorSee for an upcoming Spotlight feature. I edited the footage I recorded on my phone, so if you’re interested in how Ten Eighteen was born and what we’re up to, you can check it out here!

You’ll Never Guess What We Forgot In the Farm Budget!

Weekend before last, Ronald and Betty spent the day at the farm supervising and helping with the fence project. At some point in the late morning, they had a sudden realization of what we forgot in the planning and budgeting… a LATRINE!!!!

Now, as many times as we went over everything, and as careful as we were in thinking of all the small details, somehow this never occurred to us. Honestly, after I got over laughing hysterically, I went back over all our Signal chats, meeting notes, and emails. Nope, not once did either of us ever think about, well, the very basics.

(If I could do emojis on here, there would be literally thousands of laughing ones here!)

Whew, anyway…

Thankfully, you all have been so generous so quickly that we had money in the savings account that we didn’t need right now. So, as you can see from the photo above, we contracted to get a pit latrine made. (And y’all, there is a guy way way down in that hole digging by hand… no thank you!)

We’ve adjusted our goal on DonorSee to reflect this additional expense (and yes, we’ve double checked to make sure we didn’t leave anything else big out, let me tell you!). We are now 63% funded and have a goal of $25,900. It’s only been a month, and we are WAY further along than we expected. All thanks to YOU!

The land is cleared, and we have a lot more cassava than we thought. We’ll be planting beans very soon, thanks to our volunteer farmer Moses, and maybe a few other things to get us started. (We’re thinking tomatoes and eggplant – Moses is checking out the soil conditions for us now.) The bananas are planted, there is matoke growing, and we’ve got papaya and a big mango tree. We couldn’t be more excited and thankful. (And we’re including those latrine builders in things to be thankful for, let me tell you!)

We so appreciate all your encouragement and excitement.

Blessings!

Jennings

PS If you want to help us out with the latrine and the rest of the farm, just click the button!

Pay for the potty!

Who’s a Farmer Now?!

One of my earliest memories from childhood is being awakened in the middle of the night to go to the groves and light the oil pots due to an imminent freeze. I didn’t get out of the car or (of course) play with fire, but I remember it clearly. I also remember playing in the packing house as the conveyor belts ran full of beautiful oranges.

My grandfather always had a small vegetable garden at his house and would eat sweet onions like an apple as we walked back to the house. (Which I found horrifying!)

As an older (cough cough) adult, I dream of having a farm one day. I just didn’t know it would be in Uganda!

But we are farmers now!

We officially own the land (with paperwork started), witnessed by the neighboring landowners and the local community leaders. It has been surveyed and marked and we will start building our fence soon.

Honestly, I keep having to pinch myself that we own this land. Land that already has papaya and cassava growing and soon ready to harvest. That already has a partially finished brick building ready to be finished into a home for our caretaker and storage.

I’m still hoping for a farm a bit closer to home one day, but I am absolutely staggered at your response to our need for food, and for another vocational skill to teach our teen moms. It has so far exceeded our wildest expectations that I’m not sure there are words to express our gratitude.

In Luganda, “Tweyanzizza nnyo, tweyanzeege!” (We are so grateful, thank you very much!”)

Blessings,

Jennings

PS While we may be farmers now, we aren’t actually farming yet! Our project to help us bridge the gap between our budget and rising costs is 30% funded on DonorSee – we’d love you to help us so we can fully restock in 2 weeks when classes resume. Click the button – it’s super easy, and 100% goes to the program!

Click here for FOOD!

Time To Buy Some Farm Land

The way DonorSee works, we get the money for our projects as it comes in. For large projects that we need to gather all the funding for, I just put the proceeds into a savings account while we wait.

Because the farm project is now about 60% funded, we have the money in the bank for a piece of land! Ronald has been reaching out to all his contacts and visiting plots, and we *may* have found one yesterday! (More on this in a later email as it develops.)

I can’t thank you enough — you’ve been so generous with both your money and your encouragement. It’s definitely a leap of faith, but as we watch prices continue to rise we know it’s the right thing to do.

Obviously, we won’t be buying and improving the land and then gathering in crops the next week. I grew up in a citrus farming family and have done a lot of my own gardening; there’s no rushing nature. We can’t wait to get started!

I can’t believe we’re here — and it’s all thanks to YOU. I’m truly gobsmacked, and so so grateful!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS On DonorSee, we crossed the $30,000 raised mark on June 29. We are now (in 3 1/2 weeks!) close to crossing $50,000! (I can’t even wrap my head around that!) If you’d like to help us get over that amazing milestone, click the button!

Click Here for $50k!

The Farm Project Has Launched!

Our FARM PROJECT has launched on DonorSee!

There are some values that we hold at Touch the Slum –

  • Sustainable change
  • Personal responsibility
  • Hope + Growth

This goes for our own work in the community, for what we try to instill in our girls through counseling and education, and for how we plan and dream for the future of the Namuwongo project.

The 50%+ food inflation that Uganda has experienced has really stretched our budget while limiting our food options. We have had to limit our carbohydrates to mostly posho with a little bit of rice, and we’ve also had to reduce our fresh produce to the general population so that we can make sure that our breastfeeding teen moms get all the nutrition they need.

This has led us to the farm project. The farm will be able to provide all of the vegetables that we need, and eventually fruits such as mango and avocado. Girls who are interested in learning about farming and agriculture will be able to visit the project a couple of times a month, which will give them a wonderful skill for their future.

This is a really large project for us, but we know we will be able to fund it on DonorSee thanks to you and our wonderful partners there. Below, I’ve itemized the expenses so you can see where every penny will go. 100% of donations will go to the project (minus processing fees), and we’ll be keeping you updated all along the way.

Click the button to see the project on DonorSee — we need to get 10% of the funding before DonorSee will show it in their feed, so we’d love your help today!

TAKE ME TO THE FARM!

BUDGET

2-3 acres of arable land $11,500

Green house $1,460

Cement fencing poles + wires $2,640

Farm tools $500

Water pump system $1,100

Motorcycle $1,775 (for the caretaker, deliveries, etc)

Caretaker home $2,500

Maize milling system $1,775

Fertilizer & pesticides 1 year $350

Caretaker salary 1 year $500 (plus room, board, transport, etc)

TOTAL $24,100

Webele nyo!

Jennings