Friday, September 01, 2006
Reverend Derek Mutungu
Zambia is a country ravaged by HIV/AIDS and poverty where the average life expectancy for an average male is 32 years of age. Although the land is relatively fertile, lack of education and resource funding for the average Zambian has kept development to a minimum and today a large segment of the population live on incomes that average below $1/day. In such conditions, feeding of the soul often becomes secondary to a population whose only goal for each day is to feed the body.
I first met Derek Mutungu, a native Zambian pastor and Bible school teacher, in the early 90’s when he was studying for his Th.M at Regent College. During the winter of 2001 he briefly returned to Vancouver from Zambia and we chatted over coffee about a budding ministry vision he had for his homeland. He told me of establishing a ministry to:
a) provide nutritious, affordable food
b) create jobs and establish businesses with Godly, ethical practise
c) improve and expand regional, eventually national, agricultural conditions
d) direct proceeds into a fund dedicated to providing financial resources for church development throughout Zambia
When I came on staff in the summer of 2005, I immediately started to reconnect with Derek and now, after a full year of dialog, I am finally making preparations to utilize the resources of Engineering Ministries International and the skills of our volunteers to help him build the physical groundwork for the Royal Poultry Company (RPC). His vision is to establish hundreds of self-sustaining and individually owned poultry raising and feed growing farms around central supply, education, and processing facilities. Already, banks have been established who are ready to provide micro-enterprise loans for start-up capital for entrepeneurial farmers.
In order to achieve the above, RPC (established by the International Christian Chamber of Commerce - Zambia) needs to train, supply, and develop the market for micro-enterprise poultry farmers, organic feed growers and market vendors. To this end, eMi will come alongside RPC to Master Plan and design the first buildings for administration and teaching facilities, supply and warehouse buildings, fertilizer blending plants and mature bird processing plants.
Stretching from October 12th to 25th, this will be the longest project trip I have ever taken, both in distance away from home and in duration. Our team of 13 people will literally be traveling to Zambia from different parts of the globe: two from Canada (Greg, Architect and eMi Eng. Intern); two from the United States (Mech. Eng and Civil Eng.); a married couple traveling from Europe (Elect. Tech); a married couple traveling from Asia (Project/Construction Management); one from Uganda (eMi EA director, Civil Eng); one from Ethiopia (Elect. Eng); and three native Zambians (Architect, Elect. Eng, Surveyor). Truly Engineering Ministries International!
I feel so blessed to be a part of this work and to do it alongside people like Derek and all our incredible volunteers who are giving their time, energy, and resources. As you can well imagine, coordinating so many people from so many places has been a great challenge. But after weeks of moving parts and shifting dates, a puzzle only God can figure out is finally falling into place. Please pray for our preparations, our ability to catch the ministry vision, our families back home while we are gone, and our unity as a team because few of us will have ever met each other before we land in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. I will write about more details prior to the trip. You can also check out http://www.emiusa.org/projectprofile_5414.html for more information.