A Decade to Remember – Part 5
Thrive Behind Bars
By 2015 we thought that we had projects in every segment of society. Thrive was in public schools, slums, HIV groups, orphans care groups and churches. We realized we weren’t in every segment when Linda got invited to do a devotional talk in a local women’s prison. The next day Linda was speaking to over 200 women and 50 children. Linda shared her life story and how she coped with difficult life circumstances. During Linda’s walk out with the prison leaders, she mentioned that the other part of her job involved training organizations to set up disease-fighting gardens. Just at that moment, she asked the officers if Thrive could bring in one of our trainers to help start a garden for them. Surprisingly, the correction officers responded with, “How about yesterday!”
In next to no time, one of our keen young ladies, Joyce, was sent to work with the prison. By the end of 2015, she had organized and set up 800 garden beds within the prison walls. Furthermore, groups of 20 prison mates started completing a week-long seminar on Growing Health.
Soon after, the 2 neighbouring men’s correction centers caught wind of what the women were doing. Instantly, they wanted to be part of the Growing Health projects. Even though the 2 men’s prisons were about 5 times bigger than the women’s, the women had just as many garden beds.
Therefore, being so impressed with the women’s projects, we wanted to offer them more training. In 2016 a month-long training program was organized for the women. As expected, the women completed the program with great success.
The Creation of Super Soil
For several years we had known that food could be our medicine. This meant that we needed to have a steady supply of these foods to prevent people from dying. During this time, we needed to discover a way to keep these life-saving gardens producing. Soon we learned that soil would be full of life if it included 10% of organic materials. Additionally, we learned that organic materials hold 10 times its weight in water, meaning that when it rains, the soil would act as a water tank.
Immediately, we started to experiment with organic material. After a period of time, it was clear that food could be grown with very little watering 12 months a year. We called this process Super Soil as it was better in so many ways. Super soil allowed for a variety of immune boosting crops to be grown all year. Therefore, it was making the difference between living and dying.
Thrive Grows in Canada
As Thrive spread like wildfire in Africa, it also started to grow in Canada. In 2016, Thrive connected with a local high school, Toronto District Christian High School (TDCH). A school that ensures students are enfolded, engaged and empowered, both inside and outside of the classroom as they help them “learn for service in the light of God’s word.” Through this connection, Thrive met and welcomed a new staff member, Kerri Roberts. Kerri took on the role of coordinating curriculum development for our Growing Health Institute college program (coming soon in the year 2020). To assist Kerri in this large task, she recruited help from the TDCH Environmental Block class. Quickly our team in Canada grew from a few members to an entire class. It was very exciting seeing students in Canada helping to change the lives of those in Africa – they did a great job!