It has been three years since I started talking with the villagers about the possibilities for community development in the Galaya Newattana District. We talked about the good, the bad and the desired. When the villagers expressed interest in local homesteading we brainstormed about having access to low cost high quality animal feed and a revolving fund was born. Project:Restore would give out credit for animal feed and villagers would return the debited amount in an agreed upon amount of time, interest free. As we discussed where we would invest in the animal feed the idea of opening a community owned cooperative feed store to supply the animal was not only ideal but exciting for the villagers. Every other month I would invite committee members to talk about how to better administrate and improve the programs, and every month it was like pulling teeth. I got so discouraged by the lack of interest from the committee. Understandably some villagers were busy, others were not directly involved with raising pigs or running the feedstore. I finally decided that I would pull the program. After all development 101 would say that unless the community feels a level of ownership over their own development, then it could be detrimental rather than beneficial. With a heavy heart, I told the villagers that I would not be continuing the program. The next week, I was approached by a group of women participating in the program. They told me that the program was a huge blessing to them, and asked what I needed to continue. I told them, that I really need a committee to administrate the programs. They called a meeting and decided to appoint their own committee members to continue the program. I stepped down, and the villagers decided to elect one of their own to manage the program. Myself as well as a number of former members, decided to take on the role of adviser. I am so excited to see how the program continues to develop and the relationships it brings forth. God has been so incredibly faithful, when I give up hope He is quick to deliver.
The Life Center: April 2015