Agriculture in Putti Village

Putti Village dreams of larger scale farming

 

Putti Village AgriculturePeriodic draughts and famines are a constant challenge in Africa.
For that reason, the people of Putti Village have a dream to make their food production more efficient.  In order to achieve that, they are striving to gradually change from small scale to larger scale farming. The progress they have made in recent years is already helping the community to fight poverty. But more needs to be done, to insure the community’s food supply. 

Putti Village AgricultureThe agricultural activities, as they take place right now, involve both men and women from all ranks of the village. The community typically divides the land in smaller units and applies crop rotation and mixed farming to prevent depletion of the soil. As the community wants their products to be organic, they do not use fertilizers and since their land is so fertile, this has not posed any difficulties as of yet. Even with the growing need for production, the community has still been able to resist the temptation to use fertilizers.

While still ploughing the land using bulls that are rented from their Christian neighbors, members of the Putti community dream of owning a tractor that will not only be used to cultivate their own land, but can also help them make money, as they will be able to rent it out to neighboring farmers. In addition, if each family gets a dairy cow or some poultry for their household income, this will also be a way of fighting poverty in the Putti community.

“Our dream is to evolve from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture, that is to say, farming on a larger plot of land, planting both food crops and cash crops, using more efficient farming technology, and rearing animals for milk and birds for meat to be sold”

Feeding the village

Putti Village AgricultureThe most commonly planted crops include the following:

  • Maize
  • Beans
  • Soya beans
  • Rice
  • Cassava
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  •  Tomatoes

Putti Village AgricultureThe planting of crops takes place twice a year; in March and in September. The harvesting takes place in July and in December. Since the ability to water the crops is solely dependent on the weather (i.e. rain water), every harvest turns out differently.  The exact timing of the harvest depends largely on the type of crops that are planted.  Some crops (e.g. maize and beans) take three to four months to mature.  Other crops (such as cassava and millet) take more than six months before they can be harvested.  After the crops are gathered, the food is first dried and then stored locally in polythene bags, or at times in people’s houses.  Again, in efforts to keep the food supply organic and healthy, the villagers of Putti do not use pesticides to protect them.

Running the Project

There is not just one person in charge of the community’s agricultural efforts.  Board members and community members alike volunteer to make this project come alive. Our hope is that recent graduates will take the lead as they have experience with computers, internet access, and analytical skills. We are looking forward for this project to evolve more efficiency and to a larger scale.

You can help!

We greatly welcome donations for seeds, fruit trees, and farming equipment for our agricultural projects.  If you are able to send us a donation (or even make a monthly commitment, no matter how modest it would be) you will not only be feeding the people of Putti right now, you will be investing into the future of the village’s ability to become self-sufficient.  

Click the link below to plant your life giving tree in the agricultural community of Putti Village. Thank you!


Shabbat Sleepover House

About Shabbat and the Prohibition to Walk beyond a Certain Distance

 

The Sabbath (or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew), is probably the best known of all the Jewish observances.  For those Jews that ‘keep’ (observe) the Shabbat, it is considered a precious gift from God. Shabbat is arguably the most important ritual observance in Judaism.   It is a day of spiritual enrichment and rejuvenation.  The word Shabbat itself means to end, or to cease (i.e. from work). Jews believe that God made heaven and earth, in six days and on the seventh day (Shabbat), He ceased from His creating work. When Jews rest on the seventh day after being active on six days of the week, they, in a way ‘imitate’ God in both His creative activity and in refraining from work periodically, thereby acknowledging that He is the Creator and Master of the universe. Shabbat-observant Jews remind themselves on a weekly basis, that our work, as important as it is, is not the ultimate end-in-all goal in life.  It is good to temporarily set it aside on behalf of higher values, spirituality, and a different experience of time. 

Resting on the seventh day is also about freedom. In ancient times, only the ‘upper class’ and the wealthy had time to rest. In Pharaoh times in Egypt, the slaves (Jews), never had a day of rest. So by resting on the seventh day, Jews remind themselves that they are liberated, and meant to strive spend quality time free not only of physical labor but also of mental anxiety. During the week we may be ‘slaves’ to our work and the need to succeed but on the seventh day we can experience a deeper freedom, as were our ancestors freed from slavery. 

ShabbatThe Jewish concept of resting on Shabbat may not be what we think it is.  It does not necessarily mean doing nothing or sleeping.  The Torah and the rabbinic tradition explain that Shabbat “resting” is merely desisting from a number of specified activities. Among these are activities like kindling fire, sewing, writing, cooking, baking, harvesting, sowing, building, trading, carrying objects outside a house or private area, traveling (let’s say in a car), or walking beyond a certain distance.

 

Getting technical:


The distance that one may travel (we are talking about traveling on foot here) on the Shabbat depends where one is at the start of Shabbat.  If you are in a house outside of a town, meaning in a remote cottage, a farm house, or a “little house on the prairie”, you can walk as far away from that house as 2,000 cubits in each direction (which is roughly about 1 kilometer or almost two-thirds of a mile).  In other words one can walk anywhere within an imaginary circle that has a diameter of 2 km, i.e. 1.25 mile, with the house exactly in the middle.
On the other hand, if you live within a village or a town, even a town as big as New York City or London, you can walk anywhere within that town until the edge of the town, plus another 2,000 cubits beyond the edge (also in each direction).

A Personal Experience   

(by Sjimon den Hollander):


   The following story happened to me about ten years ago.  It was on a Friday, and I was flying back to my home in New York City from a short vacation in Colorado. According to my travel schedule, I should have landed early enough to make it home before Shabbat and in time to prepare, but for some unforeseen reason there was a serious delay, and I landed right at the time when Shabbat was supposed to start.  I made it off the plane before the deadline but now I was in the airport and Shabbat had started.  What to do now?  The airline personnel were not willing to help at all, and there I was with my suitcase.  There were a number of problems that presented themselves to me as a Shabbat observer.  I am not supposed to use a vehicle (a cab), I am not supposed to carry objects on the street (my suitcase, my wallet, my keys), and I am supposed to honor the Shabbat with a festive meal, which was not possible at the airport; as a matter of fact I didn’t have any food or drinks with me and to make things worse, I was am not supposed to buy anything on Shabbat either.  And to make it even more complicated, we are not supposed to fast on Shabbat…!
I calculated all pros and cons.  Not having the Shabbat meal and saying blessings over wine in honor of Shabbat is less serious than breaking the laws of carrying and traveling, so all things considered, it would be better to stay in the airport until the next evening.  However I could not physically do that.  There was no place to lay down on a bench, and perhaps I could do without food or drinks, maybe I could drink water for a fountain, but I certainly couldn’t manage without sleep.
Then I came up with a plan.  I had traveled with a non-Jewish companion, and he was still at my side, seeing if I would be okay.  Shabbat is not incumbent on non-Jews.  According to Judaism, a non-Jew is not obligated to keep these laws as they are only part of the covenant that God made with the people of Israel.  Non-Jews can serve God in different ways (bit that’s a different topic).
Shabbat This kind companion agreed to take my suitcase, my wallet and my keys and deliver it to my apartment, and I gratefully accepted his offer.  Then I started walking from LaGuardia Airport to my home in downtown Manhattan.  I wasn’t really sure how to walk but I used my sense of direction and probably didn’t go as straight as I could have.
I walked through the night at a high pace and it took be somewhere between 3 to 4 hours.  All my muscles and bones hurt me when I came home.  I said the blessing over wine, had a tiny mini-meal and fell asleep. 
I do have to confess something though…  I didn’t make it to Shabbat service that next morning.

The Situation in the Jewish Village of Putti, Uganda:


ShabbatSome Putti Jews live too far away from the village itself, but still wish to pray at the synagogue located within the village. 

To enable them to observe Shabbat and to comply with Jewish Law, they need a place to rest and sleep during the Shabbat period without needing to use transport to get from place to place.

Putti Village Assistance Organization (PVAO) has therefore set up a fund in order to build a “Shabbat Sleepover House”… The building is currently underway.

Shabbat

We urgently need to buy more bricks in order to create more sleeping areas.   Can you help us achieve this goal?? Our aim is to raise $5,000 for this important project. By donating just $25, you will donate 100 bricks! PVAO thanks you for taking the time and trouble of contributing in any way you can.

You can make an earmarked donation by clicking on the donate button below:


We are grateful for any help you can give!

Raising school funds for Sarah Nakirya

Help us raise money for Sarah's educationsPlease help Sarah achieve her goals in Education!

Despite a difficult childhood, Sarah now 20, excelled in her education so far. She passed High School with flying colors and has scored five aggregates (an honor degree) in History, Geography, Computer. Sarah has a passion for children’s freedoms and rights and wants to pursue a degree in Education. She had been admitted into University, but that is where the problem lies, Sarah has no more funds to continue her education and achieve her dreams with out your help.

Please Help!

The degree would take two years, each year has two semesters and each semester entails about $800. That means that, if we could raise $3,200 we would be able to provide her with tuition for her entire course. We have started a GoFundMe campaign for her but you can also donate directly to PVAO as well. Click the donate button to donate through PayPal. 

From Sarah

Hi, my name is Sarah Nakirya. I am 22 years old and one of the youths of the Abayudaya Village of Putti in Uganda. I have been Jewish since my childhood and a loyal, talented and caring person who loves making a difference into the lives of young children. I am open-minded, patient and supportive towards other people, especially towards children, and have an excellent ability to remain positive, even when things get tough. My family does not have the money to afford me to continue my studies. I am hoping that PVAO  will find the necessary funds for my education so I can pursue my dream. Can you please help me?

Let’s all rally around this wonderful young woman and help her reach her goal of $3,200 to continue on and become a teacher!

“Whoever is merciful to the poor, God will be merciful to him”
(Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 247:3)