Living Water for Susu - Fall 2023
It is truly a joy to share the stories of the ELI visits to our many projects in Zambia and Malawi; they will continue in subsequent editions of ELI’s Good News. This autumn message is filled with thanksgiving for you, our friends and supporters, with an update on the amazing progress of the Susu Farm. With perseverance, hard work and much prayer, the harvest is plentiful, bearing much fruit, both physically and spiritually. We know you will rejoice with us!
The day after the Susu Community Library dedication, the very tired but excited ELI team traveled the long road to Susu. They spent the day walking the land and seeing first hand all the remarkable agricultural projects developed over the last four years. Mr. Kenneth (ELI Director) remarked, “Unlike four years ago, you no longer are able to walk around the entire property, you will need to ride in the Susu truck."
Everyone was so excited when they were met at the library by Pastor Sandy of Susu Church, who is also a very experienced farmer and the ELI farm manager. Pastor Sandy led the way as they walked through the orange and lemon tree groves. Standing in the guard tower, they looked over citrus trees covered in blossoms, promising a bountiful harvest this November. Next stop was a walk through the 1000 banana tree plantation, with Pastor Sandy proudly showing the first bunch of bananas, and confidently predicting a very plentiful harvest. Most of the team members had never seen a banana tree before, so this was very exciting. The potato field was nearby and would be harvested in a few weeks. For the first time, the Susu farmers would take potatoes to market where buyers were already in place.
We visited the goat herd to admire the newly born kid (no name yet) and walked through the recently acquired mango tree grove. Amazing!
At the end of the tour, we stood for a long time on the edge of the field listening to Mr. Kenneth and Pastor Sandy share their vision for the growth of the farm projects and the impact they would have on the entire Susu community. It was humbling to listen to these godly men remember the small beginnings of this project. They never complained about the long hours and hard work that had been invested, but they were always confident that God had heard their prayers and would continue to do so. Now, they are praying for a well to be dug on the middle property with a large capacity solar powered generator that will pump life giving water. It seems impossible, but these men trust in a BIG God and they remember His faithfulness at each step of the journey in the Susu farm development story.
Four years ago, thanks to the financial contributions of residents of Britton SD, ELI purchased 50 acres of land with the Mulungushi River forming one of the boundaries.
Access to a water supply was critical, as the farmers cleared the African bush with hand tools and simple plows pulled by cattle teams. It was hard work, but meter by meter the land was cultivated and the first small crops of beans, local vegetables and 50 orange trees were planted. All these were irrigated with a hand pump using the river water; the harvests were good and profits were used to pay for the labor to clear more land and purchase seeds to plant larger fields.
Once the well for the Susu Community Library was in place; drip lines were laid, and watermelon, cabbage and tomatoes were planted. The harvests were bountiful and ELI friends purchased a truck, so the crops could be taken to far away markets to sell as an income generating project for the library. Property adjacent to the farm became available to buy, so the decision was made to purchase it and keep increasing the amount of arable land. Plus, it was a good location for the expanding goat herd!
When an adjacent property came up for sale, the Lord again provided the necessary funding. Now the Susu farm had grown to 150 acres and most of it was covered with brush. However, the Susu farmers knew the new property would be perfect for maize (corn) and sunflowers. The first year they were able to clear and plant almost an acre before the rainy season began. Without water for irrigation on this parcel, they would need to depend on the rain. Like farmers all over the world, they prayed and hoped for just the right amount of rain at just the right time. The crops grew well and another great harvest was anticipated, but the rains stopped early and almost half the crop was lost. It was heartbreaking for everyone, but their faith is strong. Now that Susu has a tractor and plow, the farmers are determined to clear more land and plant larger crops of maize and sunflowers. They continue to pray for the Lord's blessing on their labor, and for a much needed well with a solar powered pump, so they can lay drip lines and irrigate all year. The well would also provide water to the just purchased land with 350 mature mango trees, and to the site of the future high school.
The need for this well is a high priority for Susu. The rainy season usually begins in late November or early December. If the rain follows its normal pattern, the small roads to Susu become impassable within a few weeks, and the heavy well drilling vehicles cannot travel until next April.
As the farm projects grow in size and success, the Susu Community Library will be able to offer additional outreach programs to schools and communities. More children and adults will learn to read and have access to quality educational books and the always requested Bibles, where they find the story of Living Water that Jesus provides for our hearts and souls.
ELI asks for your faithful prayers and a generous designated gift to reach the goal of $19,800. Your support will bring life and light to the land and souls of many. May the Lord bless you.
"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein."