Mano River Connection
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(Check o
ut pictures of members of the parish packing seeds for Mano River)
(Here are more pictures from the work being done in the Mano River region)

The Mano River Farming Connection is sponsored by the Outreach Committee of the St Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church.  The team responsible for the planning and implementation of this specific ministry of the Outreach Committee includes Evangeline Wayne, Sheila Emond, Nora Wellington, Rexford Jarrett Sr, Sando Wayne and Rev. Ann Mocyzdlowski.
 
The primary thrust of this program is to establish a long lasting connection with people from the homelands of a significant percentage of the church’s population, two small countries on the West African coast – Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Both countries have similar histories, founded as safe havens for former slaves being returned from the New World following the abolition of slavery. They have similar customs, lineage and share the Mano River, which is a common border, between the two countries. The Episcopal Church has a strong foundation in both countries, and it is only fitting that as they rebuild from civil wars that ravaged their countries, the Church plays a critical role in assisting their re-emergence. 
 
These communities have been devastated by war and have tremendous challenges, but we were alarmed by the shortage of food, one of our most basic human needs.  We are convinced that if we can help the people restore farming, where they can once again store seeds and provide food for themselves and their families, it will have a lasting impact on their development. Thus, food security is the major objective of this outreach and the group has decided to help alleviate the shortage of food by providing seeds and agricultural tools to these villages.  There is a pay-it-forward component to the gifting - at least 10% of the seeds that are produced from the crops of each growing season must be shared with their neighbors to expand farming in the area, thus providing an occupation and a source of food and income.
 
Within a few weeks of our planning, we were blessed with a sizeable donation of seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company in Mansfield, Missouri.  Through careful coordination with Sando Wayne, a parishioner currently working in Liberia, we were able to connect with the villagers in Cape Mount County, which borders the Mano River.  The first beneficiaries are two districts in Cape Mount County – Tewor and Porkpa.
 
The first shipment of seeds occurred on August 29, 2011.  The seeds arrived in Liberia and planting began in October 2011.The crops are near harvesting. The villagers have been excited about this new opportunity and remain very engaged.  The results of their hard work will soon be headed to the marketplace and manifested in their sharing of 10% of the seeds with neighboring villages.
We are in the process of complementing this endeavor by starting the second phase of this outreach with the shipment of seeds and tools to Sierra Leone by the end of Summer 2012.  So, please help us make this endeavor a success. 
 
You may contribute to this worthy cause in any of the following ways:
  • Donate packs of seeds (hint: vegetables that grow in tropical weather e.g. hot peppers, tomatoes, greens, okra, cucumbers, watermelons etc)
  • Donate money (envelopes and flyers are available, any amount will do)Cash is acceptable or you can make checks/ money orders payable to St Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church (in the memo section, please write “Mano River”)
  • Purchase various items usually sold in the undercroft of St Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church on select Sundays after our 8a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services
  
Eve Wayne