The year 2013 involved the development of many partnerships. Overall, partnerships were created in three different countries. The first being a Canadian NGO called Bopoma Villages, located in Zimbabwe. Their mission involves overcoming poverty by equipping people with the tools to do it themselves.
A Decade to Remember Continues
As we focused on the continent of orphans, we realized that there were many more problems. These problems involved food security, nutritional deficiencies, contagious and deadly diseases. Incorporating all issues, we developed the idea of Growing Health as a solution for the world’s poorest continent.
Good news travels fast and that is what happened in 2009. For every community project we started, 3 other groups wanted us to help them. We learned very quickly that not all of the groups were serious about growing food, but some simply wanted whatever handouts were available.
What it Takes to Create 1 Pound of Food
As Thrive expanded and transformed the lives in many communities, it also grew internally. In 2009, Thrive’s team grew by 2 important members. The first one being Ambrose Motian. Ambrose, a recent agricultural graduate, jumped on board to help end extreme poverty.
An interesting fact is that Ambrose’s mother was one of the first in her tribe to promote organic gardens in the ’90s. Now Ambrose would be doing the same – it’s wonderful to see how God works!
Ambrose started out with projects closer to his home which involved the Maissi tribe. The communities there became very interested in what Ambrose had to share as they only knew a life of caring for cattle. Therefore, these new ideas of growing food seemed to be a big transition for them.
During this time the Maissi tribe was struggling. They were faced with the challenge of finding enough water for their herds of cows. It is known that cows consume approximately 2,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. Therefore, the tribe needed to gather lots of water in order to receive beef. Thrive had a better and healthier alternative which involved organic gardening. Ambrose was able to promote organic gardening as a solution to their struggle. Instead of gathering 2000 gallons of water needed for cows, they could reduce that amount to 20 gallons, as it is also known that most vegetables only need 10-20 gallons of water to produce the same amount of food, 1 pound.
Malaria No More
The second staff to join Thrive in 2009 was Douglas Naibei. Before joining the team, Douglas suffered from malaria 4 times a year. Since living the Thrive’s way by eating greens every day, Douglas has been malaria free for more than 8 years. Douglas’ role with Thrive involved creating more projects in the Kitale area where he could help others be freed from deathly diseases.
The year of 2009 finished off with 1 acre of land being purchased in Kitale for Boaz. Boaz used this land to build a simple mud home for his family of 4. Additionally, this land turned into a learning center as Boaz created many beautiful demonstration gardens.
Although lots of growth happened in 2009, Thrive struggled to get people to understand their ideas. For many, this new idea of food security was unheard of and seemed impossible. Drastically changing the way that they lived their everyday life was a challenge, but nothing that Thrive couldn’t overcome.
1 Village, 16 Deaths
The year 2010 involved the discovery of Thrive’s second big idea. The idea that organic gardens should not just grow food, but crops that would help to build people’s immune systems.
This idea came to the founder Dale Bolton when he started seeing the harmful effects of the serious tropical diseases in Africa. During a trip to visit a village, Dale was not greeted in the regular enthusiastic way which involved dancing and singing. Dale walked into a quiet village. A village that was mourning the deaths of 16 people. 16 people died in 1 day, in 1 village. This is when Dale knew that these people didn’t just need food security, they needed disease prevention and protection. Diseases like cholera, typhus, TB, pneumonia, dysentery, malaria and meningitis needed to be stopped.
To gain more knowledge, naturopathic doctors and holistic nutritionists were contacted. Mountains of information and books on the 21st-century idea of nutritional excellence to build immune function were received. Additionally, various international experts were invited to come and conduct seminars on nutritional excellence in Kitale, Kenya. Training materials started to be created that would be locally taught in the future. Thrive was on its way to growing health.
Kale is The New Beef
Another great discovery in 2010 was Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s nutrient density chart. A chart that shares the number of vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals in each food. People could see that the health-giving potential of white rice was almost 1% of kale. This chart was the best tool used to convince people that the food we eat can either heal or hurt us. O4O still uses this chart as the main teaching point in all of its current lessons.
Our staff began to communicate with local projects that certain foods could be used as medicine. Eating plants for health benefits was an idea that was completely foreign to Africa, but was needed! This encouraged us to continue our training programs and to discover more big ideas that could help the extreme poor.
Our 10th Anniversary – A Blog Series
Often we look back and wonder where the past few years have gone. This is especially true for Thrive as we celebrate our 10th anniversary. The last decade has involved a lifetime of amazing progress and wonderful experiences. Continue to follow us through our “A Decade to Remember” blog series and find out the challenges we overcame, the amazing testimonies we received and see some of our favourite photos.
40 Million Orphans
The idea of Thrive started out with a problem that would just not go away. This problem involved 40 million unsupported orphans in the continent of Africa. To put this into perspective, this ridiculously high number represents more than the entire population of Canada.
With 40 million unsupported children in the streets, we knew we needed a giant-sized solution. We also knew that this solution needed to be flexible so that it could be used in any community, anywhere. We had introduced ourselves to an enormous challenge that needed an even bigger solution.
80% of the Best Farmland Not Used
We soon found out that growing food in Africa had gone downhill during the last two decades. The reason being that fertilizers, pesticides and seeds had become increasingly expensive. This hit us hard as we knew that 25% of the best farmland in the world is in Africa and 80% of it was not being used. Therefore, we needed to develop a more economical way of growing food.
After doing some research, Dale discovered the Bio-Intensive method of organic gardening. Dale continued to learn as he attended a one-month seminar in Kenya that focused on organic gardening. One lesson that stood out claimed that 21st-century organic gardening grows 2-6 times as much food per square foot than conventional farming. Additionally, it uses less water, no chemical fertilizers and only simple tools.
Thrive was Born
Dale identified that one of the trainers teaching the seminar had a heart for unsupported children. After many cups of tea with this man named Boaz, the idea of Thrive was birthed. During the year of 2008, strategies and plans to help local orphan care communities were created. Additionally, several five-day organic gardening workshops were completed in various communities.
Boaz did an amazing job during Thrive’s first year as every project he started, 3 other communities saw his work and wanted the same help that he was providing. Thrive was immediately growing and was off to a great start!
A Decade to Remember Continues…
5 Idleswift Drive
Thornhill, ON, Canada
Charity #: 861028298RR0001