Jan 10, 2011 The Farm

January 13, 2011
posted by admin

The team was excited about going out to the rural Indian villages for a few days of clinics.  After breakfast we had a team meeting in Dr. Lewis room, as we do each morning, and had devotions.  Then we discussed the day and what to expect as far as the drive out, visit to “The Farm” (24-acre future site of orphanage/school/hospital) and about how we would stage the free clinic in the village.

power plant with coal buckets

We loaded into our three Tata 4-wheel drive vehicles and headed out .  It took us approximately 2 hours to get out to The Farm and along the way we drove past the fringe area of our metro city with its vast array of small, open-air  retail and fabrication shops, old men sitting outside in plastic chairs drinking tea, and motor scooters humming in and out . About half way, we passed a huge coal-based power plant with its monstrous cooling tower and smoke stacks.   Coal is mined in the area nearby and transported to the power plant inside small gondola type cars that run on wires.  During our drive out we didn’t notice the pollution so much, but then on the way back into the city around dusk, we could really see the smog.   It was apparent that India does not have the same standards for environmental regulation as the US.  This is India’s dirty underbelly.

country road

The double lane road ended at the power plant.  Beyond that point, there was one lane 3/4 width, not wide enough for two cars, so when cars or trucks past each other it was a game of chicken as to who would give in and drive one tire on the shoulder.  To complicate matters further,  let’s add in ladies with large bundles of sticks on their heads, ox carts hauling massive piles of hay, a herd of cows, and farm laborers.  The drainage structures under the road give you some idea as to the amount of rain that comes during the monsoons (June 1 – July 31).  Incredible!

calculate that run off!

Soon, we entered into a fertile agricultural area.  Farms flanked the road with small farm plots of wheat, rice, lentils, cotton, lentils, and alfalfa. There were also fruit groves of oranges, mangoes, guavas, and mangos. 

lentil bushes in bloom, planted between rows of cotton

We arrived at The Farm around lunch time.  We got out of the vehicles and the local ministry leader, who traveled with us (we were never without him)  lead us on a walking tour of the 24-acre site.  It felt good to be out in the pure fresh air of the country side and to feel  the warm of the sun.

walking toward the compound

An 8-foot concrete fence is being constructed around the entire property, which is approximately 75 percent  complete.  Nigel Bowen on our team came over on a previous construction team and helped build a portion of the fence.  The Farm is truly a blessed spot!  The local ministry leader’s father dreamed about the site and saw it’s unique hills and the large tree in the center the property.  He searched for the land with a realtor for a long time, but when he saw it, he knew it was the land God had for them.

inspecting progress on the fence

The land is already planted with crops including cotton and lentils.  A stream runs through it which provides irrigation.  Small huts on stilts allow farmers to sleep on the land and protect it from foraging animals while being vigilant for tigers.

huts where farmers sleep at night

While we were on our walk, we met a very old Indian woman on a path at the edge of the property.  Mary Ellen Walker had apple flavored candy sticks and gave her one.  She had never tasted anything like it! What a picture!

oh taste and see that the Lord is good!

Lunch was prepared for us at the small compound and hostel in the center of the property by the grounds keeper, David, and his wife.  She cooked traditional Indian food over a charcoal fire: rice, lentils, curried tomatoes, and chapati bread.  The lentils and tomatoes were grown on The Farm.   There was also a well  which goes down so deep it produces fresh water which we can drink.  The compound has  concrete walls with a gate, 3 or 4 concrete rooms, two western –style toilets, and open cooking area, and a partially covered courtyard.

lunch made over the fire


After lunch, our ministry leader had a nice core board image of the future lay-out of this property.  In the next five years, as God provides the financial resources, the vision is for this property to have  40 orphan cottages, and a public area with hospital, school, and recreation open for  the surrounding villages.  It will also be self-sustaining with poultry farms and gardens that will produce many fruits and vegitables.  The overflow will be sold to buy spices that cannot be grown on The Farm.  The public areas and services will help to provide a Christian witness in a rural area that is strongly Hindu and Buddhist. 

catching the vision!

Power is now at the property line after 5 years of waiting!  One of the top needs is to bring power into the property.   This will involve setting the poles and running the lines.  Also, there is an interest in solar and wind power, and some upgrades needed at the compound.   Nigel Bowen, with Bartlett United Methodist Church (Memphis area) is considering putting together a construction team for Oct 2011 to address some of these projects. 

We delayed at The Farm a little longer than originally planned before leaving for our clinic because one of the drivers of a vehicle bringing supplies for the village clinic, hit a dog in a village coming in and was drug from his car and beaten.  He was OK, but our ministry leader wanted to wait until things settled down before taking us “foreigners” out again.  These considerations can never leave your mind.

The medical clinic today and tomorrow will be used not only for medical care and outreach, but also to help establish positive relationships between our local ministry partner and their neighboring villages.  

I’ll cover the first village medical clinic in my next blog.

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