Cristina Ayala is the Samaritan’s Purse animals and livelihoods program manager in Honduras.
In 2013, a disease called coffee rust hit Rafael Rosas Mejia’s crop. The results were devastating. For many years, he had harvested coffee and honey from beekeeping. But he said he knew little about beekeeping, and his main source of income was suddenly gone.
When our team came to Rafael’s village, he only had five beehives. We taught him more about how to bee keep, and he now hopes to increase his farm to 25 hives. From our teaching, he has diversified his farming, and he learned how to make organic fertilizer. He’s now growing tomatoes, green bell peppers, and yucca, as well as planting corn and red kidney beans. After learning these tools, he also received a workshop on leadership.The note below is from Rafael:
“We had high hopes that we would harvest a lot, but the coffee rust destroyed our crop. I only produced two bags of coffee beans when I normally produce 35 bags. So I was very happy when I met the Samaritan’s Purse team. They would be able to help me with growing the number of beehives that I have so that I can get greater amounts of honey.
They also taught me the importance of growing a variety of crops or working in different areas so that when there is a drought, hurricane, or diseases, you don’t lose your entire crop from one product.
I am now working on my farm, and I now have hope because I have planted beans, cassava, coffee, and work with bees. We harvested 15 bottles per bee case, and we have not had many problems. Our commitment is to grow bigger because we only have five boxes. We need to work and earn income because we have to send our children to school, or when there is sickness in the home we need money.
There are many things I like about working with Samaritan’s Purse, and one of them is that they are based on the Bible, with teachings on leadership from a biblical perspective. That’s good. No other institution is dedicated to teaching the Word [of] God. When [they] taught me about Nehemiah, that was good, and how it applied to life, I think it is the best I’ve heard.”