Travel Tag | NRT: JAPAN 2013-04-16

Today our Global Outreach Team landed in Tokyo to assess progress made since the earthquake and tsunami struck  Japan in March 2011. While there, the team will also be partnering locally to host a community outreach in the city of Koriyama, Japan.

Anyone ever been to Japan?

Let us know in the comments.

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Program Updates

Story of One: Jacque, Haiti

Jacque, 14, has just shown up at his school outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but he isn’t here to learn today. “I’m here to eat,” he says.

Jacque frequently comes to the school on days he doesn’t have class just so he can get a nutritious meal provided by Convoy of Hope and its partners.

“Jacque has no guarantee there is food at home, so he comes here,” says Baltazar, who runs the school. “It’s a blessing he can come here.”

Jacque lives in poverty with his mother and three siblings. His mother doesn’t work, so food is scarce at home. “I feel bad to not have food at home,” he says. “I sometimes ask the neighbor for food, or I come here where I can eat.”

Convoy of Hope and its partners have been providing food for 256 Haitian children in this school for two years.

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Children's Feeding / Program Updates
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. His life and words are well remembered for going against the grain for the sake of what was right. “42” the movie just released this week as a biographical look at a man who changed baseball forever by living out one of our core values. Convoy of Hope’s 7th core value reads: “UNITY, we build bridges across denominational, ethnic and socioeconomic lines, believing that unity is essential to having God’s blessing.

Monday, April 15th, is Jackie Robinson Day, all MLB players will wear the number 42 to honor Jackie. Celebrate unity with us by sharing this quote and downloading a background.

Free desktop background
Free mobile background

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Inspiration

3 Steps To Amazing, Difference-Making Hot Chocolate

Ah…hot chocolate. The sultry, chocolatey treat some say originates nearly 2000 years ago from the Mayan and Aztec cultures. Hot chocolate has been with us for thousands of years in a variety of presentations. In the 19th century, hot chocolate was even used for medicinal purposes – now that’s great healthcare!

Here in Springfield and right around the corner from the Convoy of Hope offices is local chocolate maker extraordinaire, Shawn Askinosie. An attorney turned chocolate maker, Shawn has been producing some of the best, small-batch chocolate in the world and has garnered awards, recognition and even a nod from none other than Oprah Winfrey.

While Shawn appreciates the accolades, his chocolate passion allows him to invest in the lives of farmers and families around the world. Shawn buys cocoa beans direct, shares the profits with his farmers and personally travels the world to thank the growers who produce his award-winning beans. It was along these travels, when he stumbled upon an amazing hot chocolate drink from the Philippines – Tableya. Shawn shared his 3 steps for amazing, difference-making Tableya with me and I’m excited to pass it along to you:

Buy Tableya from Askinosie Chocolate

Shawn purchases the ingredients from farmers and families in the Philippines. A local, Filipino PTA at Malagos Elementary School in Davao wraps the ingredients into a convenient package for all of us to purchase and use in our hot chocolate creation.

Make Tableya

Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to low. Drop chocolate tablets in water and stir until dissolved. Add sugar if desired and stir until dissolved. Enjoy.

Feed 225 Kids

Each package of Tableya purchased will provide enough money to buy and prepare 225 meals to students at Malagos Elementary School. This lunch program is 100% sustainable, requiring zero donations.

If the wind is blowing just right, we can smell Shawn’s chocolate from our offices. It’s a great reminder that chocolate can be so much more…it can be HOPE.

Learn more about Shawn Askinosie, Askinosie Chocolate and Tableya at www.askinosie.com

Listen to an interview with Shawn Askinosie

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Partner Spotlight
Haitian bean farmers partnering in the bean experiment. Haitian bean farmers partnering in the bean experiment.

A 5-year bean experiment

As I walked through bean fields in Turpin and Zoranje during Haiti’s last rainy season I realized the crops had contracted a virus. Unfortunately, there is no cure for these plants once infected and this particular infection came in the seed. Think of when you go to the Dr. you get, “sorry, this one’s a nasty virus, you’re just going to have to ride it out.” So, who do I call, what do I do? Standing there I realized that as Convoy of Hope’s director of agriculture initiatives, I could either take on this task or hope that another scientist with the same training at another organization happened to walk in this field and discover the same virus.

Fastforward, we went with option A. Through traditional breeding programs scientists have found virus resistant varieties of black beans. We are now experimenting to see if these varieties can grow in Haiti where food-security is a leading cause and symptom of poverty.

I just got back from Haiti where Convoy of Hope initiated a 5-year experiment and partnership with a team of USDA-ARS scientists and bean breeders. We’re testing 28 varieties of beans so experimental that most of them only have numbers for names. Their promising traits span from higher nutrient value to drought resistance. Over the next 75-80 days we will observe factors like survival, growth and disease-resistance all to determine which variety to breed next. In the end we’ll also evaluate taste, color, market and farmer acceptance, and nutritional value. The ideal is to arrive at a bean that will grow with optimal yield, nutritional make-up and market value.

This little piece of science has the potential to make long-lasting generational change in Haiti, score one for the nerds!

Note: For scientists that just have to know, this is a 5-year experiment set up in a corn/bean rotation as a complete randomized block design with 4 treatments and 3 full replicates.  

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Agriculture / Program Updates