Many people that donate to non-profit organizations or charities often wonder where their money actually goes. The common question, “What percentage of my money goes towards supporting the organization’s mission as opposed to administrative costs?” often arises. At Thrive we are happy to share that 100% of your donation goes towards our projects and programming in Africa. Therefore, your money is going directly into creating…
After being struck by the size of the orphan population in Africa, I felt a strong pull to go see the situation first hand in 2004. True to what I had heard, there were unsupported children everywhere. During this time money was raised to help build a home for orphans. The seer number of unsupported children was still very bothersome.
May 1st is World Asthma Day. It is estimated that over a quarter of a billion people are affected by this inflammatory disease. The exact cause is unknown, but it is often triggered by allergies, air pollution, respiratory infections, poor diet, stress, emotions, weather conditions, and certain medications. Asthma causes narrowing of the airways that lead to our lungs, making it difficult for one to breathe. Common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
In the year 2008, I went for an internship program for 6 months at Ecology Action in California. I learned a lot and felt like sharing the knowledge with many people rather than just sitting in a fence for 8 hours a day. After the internship, I came back to Kenya and on the second week I met Mr. Dale Bolton. I shared what I wanted to do after the internship which turned into birthing Thrive Kenya. It started in 2008 and after 3 years of operation we elevated it to an international organization after doing a seminar where 13 countries were represented and here we are.
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…
Will You Win the 50/50 Antibiotic Lottery?
Just this morning I was talking to a friend who was vacationing down south. She mentioned how quickly a bug had gotten into her system, pushing her body temperature to 104 degrees. She went to a local medical clinic, got a round of antibiotics and 12 hours later she started to feel somewhat normal.
Even though the doctor truly didn’t know if it was viral or bacterial, she seemed to win the 50/50 lottery that it was bacterial. If it had been a viral infection the provided antibiotics would not have had an impact.
Antibiotics Solve AND Create Problems
The WHO (World Health Organization) has declared this week as World Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 13-19, 2017. The key word is “Awareness” because even though antibiotics have been saving lives for 90 years, they have also created forms of drug-resistant bacteria which have created even more problems.
Western adults get colds 2 to 4 times a year and children 6 to 10 times. The common cold, flues and as many as 95% of noticeable sicknesses are caused by viruses. Therefore, 90% of antibiotics sold may be totally ineffective short term. Our guess is that the common cold occurrence with children in developing countries is even higher than 6 to 10. In these countries, antibiotics can be purchased for as little as $1.50 with no prescription needed from a doctor.
Bad Versus Good
Seventy percent of the immune system resides in the gut. The use of antibiotics not only take out the bad bacteria but also the good disease fighting allies. After the good bacteria are removed, bad strains such as Helicobacter pylori move in creating stomach ulcers. We have seen symptoms of ulcers in young adults reversed in many cases with green vegetable-derived compounds. Left untreated these conditions can last a lifetime.
Good gut bacteria help to protect the digestive tract by creating a lining. As well, it assists with the digestion of foods and promotes a variety of actions such as vitamin production and metabolic functions. Additionally, good bacteria release antibacterial substances that prevent disease.
One way of preventing bad bacteria is by crowding them out with good bacteria. This is known as competitive exclusion.
A healthy micronutrient-rich plant-based diet promotes good bacteria. Good bacteria feed on fiber which is abundant in unrefined plant food. Unfortunately, hundreds of helpful bacteria are lost with the use of antibiotics. Therefore, creating a vacuum for the bad strains to come in.
Our Time With Antibiotics is Running Out
One of the WHO slogans is “use antibiotics wisely to combat rising drug resistance”. We agree with this but also ask the question, what do you put in place of antibiotics? Thrive feels that more awareness needs to be created about restoring the damage in our gut which has been caused by the overuse of antibiotics. We need to create a strong immune system that can effectively overcome diseases. This is what our Growing Health program is all about.
The good news is that the solution to fix the overuse of antibiotic costs little to nothing. Simple, fresh, whole foods are all that is needed.
For more on this topic watch out for our new book called Super Immunity for Developing Countries coming out in 2018.
Learn more about World Antibiotic Awareness Week by clicking here.
Project Information Story
Visitation and Inspection of 2 Month-Old Pokot County Project, Kenya, East Africa
Mamas Take Over the Land
On August 22, the Thrive international team set out on a journey to the Pokot County project that was established in June 2017. Mr. Boaz Oduor, Mr. Jacob Latodo and Mr. Francis Lotte tagged along and joined the adventure. This project flourished as it had a variety of plants such as moringa, kale, tomatoes, onions, and beans. Mamas ran the show with the help of only a few men. This group used solid, steel fencing to protect their precious plants from hungry livestock that surrounded the area. Colourful garden beds and one keyhole garden covered their land. Overall, the plants were growing well and produced delicious foods for all the members.
A Trip Down a Rocky Road, Pokot County
Travelling a far distance down a rocky road, the Thrive group arrived at a second project. Here the gardens were over following, the double dug beds were very rich and there were no signs of the most recent drought. While all seemed well, the Thrive team immediately noticed a major flaw – this beautiful garden was too far away from the road! This was an issue because the works of the members’ hands could not be seen by any bystanders. Unfortunately, due to its distance, this project wasn’t able to motivate others in the community to start their own gardens. Therefore, the community would need to be encouraged in a different way.
Males Chat While Mamas Work
Quickly the Thrive team observed that this project ran much differently than others. As shown in the picture below, the Mamas took charge and did all of the work in the gardens. Meanwhile, the males would sit and talk under a shaded tree. This was odd for the Thrive inspection staff to see given that the men had the strength to work and help in the gardens too. Obviously, this worried the Thrive staff as they know how important it is for everyone to be involved so that they know how to complete each step.
Pokot County Project Awarded with Tools for Success
Once the group was gathered, Mr. Boaz spoke a message that was filled with motivation. He encouraged them to continue their hard work and project success. Boaz rewarded them with new farming tools that could help them maintain the excellence of their project. The new tools brought joy to their eyes, smiles to their lips and excitement to their actions.
Keyhole Gardens Created with Natural Resources
This intelligent team collected locally available materials and created a keyhole garden. Their actions showed that not everything had to be bought. God’s creation provided them with a variety of tools and materials that they graciously used for free.
Success Covers Up Struggles
In summary, the people involved in this project were very thankful, nice and happy. Furthermore, it was hard to imagine that they were struggling with food scarcity and malnutrition. Overall, it was observed that they fully dedicated their time to this project as they understood its benefits. As the group left, they extended their thankfulness for the Thrive organization. They were thankful that they are able to grow their own food, that they are growing health and creating disease-free communities.
Ed Jay Espinosa
5 Idleswift Drive
Thornhill, ON, Canada
Charity #: 861028298RR0001