From the Backroads and Backwoods

Compañeros,

A big shout out from Santo Domingo, Ecuador.  Hope everyone is well and doing work that is worth doing.  I spent the day visiting some of my students who are completing an agricultural internship in the coastal area of Ecuador.  The highlight was a non-textbook ascent of a cherrymoya (sp?  Google it) tree to harvest some of its delicious, funky shaped fruit. The operation was a success with only minor corporal damage inflicted by some unneighborly red ants.  

Much love from the backwoods and backwaters,

zc

New Pics

Friends,

 Check out the new pics of our construction work in my album under the Links section below.  Paz, zc

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Howdy Folks from the rainy daze (pun intended) of Mindo.  The trip home left me a few p0unds heavier and slightly sleep deprived, but it was GREAT to reconnect with family and friends.  Moreover, the grace, generosity, and patience that my familyconstantly  extends to me blesses and humbles me.

 I arrived back on a Thursday afternoon and we began slaughtering chickens the following morning.  By Monday we had slaughtered all of the chickens with about half being sold and the other half being consumed within the Colegio (i.e. the technical high school where I teach and manage projects).

On Tuesday we began construction.  We are building two new chicken houses and finishing four new tilapia ponds in order to formally start our small business.  The business is to be run by my students, the farm workers, and myself inside the Colegio and we will be selling fresh chicken and tilapia (i.e. fish) to the local restaurants and hostels.  Since we are at the beginning of the rainy season, we find ourselves slogging through the mud everyday.

Before I go, I want to share one quick praise: The day that we broke ground to build the “platform” where we would be constructing the chicken houses it rained all day long.  At the end of the day, our platform looked more like a mud-bog.  Then, to my great surprise, the next three days were SUNNY!  Thus, we were able to complete the platform and continue work.  I am continually amazed at the Lord´s provision of the big and the little things which are all small in the scheme of things.  (cf. Matthew 6).

 From Ecuador and By Faith,

 zc

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Broadcast…

Howdy Neighbors,I am home right now in East Texas.  Coming “home” has been more difficult than I anticipated.  I have spent the last seven days surrounded by a family who loves me.  The refrigerator is overflowing to the point we have been throwing food away.  I drove a car to Dallas and back today.  When I consider my Equa-family and my students back inside the Colegio (the Ecuadorian boarding school where I teach) I view the material and familial blessings of which I was formerly accustomed in a whole new light.  I didn’t expect to change this much….For all of you faithful readers, thank you for your patience with my sporadic posts.  For all of you faithful prayers, please pray Colossians 1:9-10 on my behalf.“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all Spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”Remember that I love each of you and be reminded that…  Its Grace Alone, Folks, zac 

Reformation Day

Howdy Everyone,

I wish all of you a peaceful and meaningful Reformation Day (granted this e-mail is a few hours late)!

If you are wondering what in the world I am talking about, allow me to refer you to the best concise history of the Reformation that I have come across.  You will find Tom Browning´s audio series to be superbly interesting and informative.

The link is: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/reformationhistory.html

[If the link did not work, go to www.monergism.com.  Click “audio & multimedia” on the righthand side.  Click “History & Biography”.  Click “Reformation Historÿ: How Christ Restored the Gospel to His Church.”]

We Are All Beggars (Before God),

zc

New Pics!!

Look Mom, no hands! Not really, just a few new pics. Please see the link to my photo album on the righthand side of the page.

Un Abrazo,

zc

The PR Blurb

Howdy Friends,

“It’s been rough and rocky travelin’,
But I’m finally standin’ upright on the ground.
After takin several readings,
I’m surprised to find my mind’s still fairly sound”

(Lyrics from Willie Nelson’s Me & Paul)

Yes, indeed. The last six months have been rough and rocky travelin’. However, by grace I seem to have landed sunny side and up all systems functioning reasonably well. In all sincerity, I am so very thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness and daily provision of all that I need to remain faithful.

In the interest of offering a brief overview of what life in my new site has been like, below I have pasted a recent “PR Blurb” that I wrote for Peace Corps Headquarters.

Much Love from the Campo,

zc

Organic Agriculture & Agribusiness

Educational institutions the world over continually find themselves faced with an economic dilemma: how best to utilize their limited resources to meet the (seemingly) unlimited needs of the students. I suspect that the technical high school where I live and work experiences a more virulent strain of this dilemma than most given its location in a developing country and the fact that it is responsible for not only educating, but also housing and feeding half of its 640 students. As a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Mindo, Ecuador, I play the unique role of coordinating the partnership between “my” technical high school and a non-profit organization called the “Friends of Mindo.” Together they seek to better utilize the school’s agricultural resources for the purpose of achieving food sustainability.

Currently we are focusing our efforts on two projects: organic vegetable and broiler (chicken) production. The Friends of Mindo foundation provided the capital necessary to build a chicken house with a 1000 broiler capacity and a 1000 square meter greenhouse. In turn, the high school provides the human resources necessary to manage both projects. My role is to keep both parties working together and focused on their common goals. During the first four months of our partnership we raised over 800 broilers. The students themselves consumed one-third of that number; the other two-thirds were sold in the local community in order to recoup our financial investment. We have utilized our greenhouse space to begin a rotation system that allows us to harvest fresh vegetables several times a week. Furthermore, we are taking small steps toward an “integrated” farm through recycling all of our chicken waste into compost that is later used inside the greenhouse. Most importantly of all, the students contribute significantly in the raising and harvest of both plants and animals; they then assume a leadership role in the marketing and sale of our agricultural products within the community.

I define success as the learning and adoption by the school´s stakeholders of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to assume full responsibility for meeting their food needs. That success could best be measured by what I see and do not see if I were to return in twenty years time: namely the existence of an integrated, organic, and sustainable agricultural operation and the absence of a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Zac Coventry
Peace Corps Volunteer in Sustainable Agriculture
Ecuador