127% of $3,000 goal
We did it!! Thank you, everyone, for helping us achieve our goal! - Brent & Alais <3
In fact, Brent is still down in Acapulco working on supporting the community.
Check out AmorLabor.org to learn more!
Update from 9/22
Brent Kaufman checking in from a rainy Acapulco with an update!
I love these kids, I believe in the power of food independence, and I believe that together, we can support the Marsh Children's Home.
I also believe that the only way for my dreams to come true are to meet them half way. So, I permanently relocated to Acapulco and I am fully committed to this mission.
- Since Jovita asked me to teach the children English, I have been going 6 days a week
teaching multiple classes a day to different age groups. Sometimes, the same kids stay
in the class just to learn more.
- I am taking TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course to become a certified teacher.
- Still growing sprouts and helping the garden thrive. Planting tons of sunflowers for future seeds, planted 13 garden-rooted pineapples around the Children's Home, lots of beans, chile, tomato, herbs including rosemary, peppermint, oregano and basil. We have lots of melons starting to form, which are really exciting for the children. Previously, they would eat any and all baby fruits and are now finally starting to learn respect for the growing process!
-The garden just got a new leader - one of the Marsh' middle-aged girls will begin to help care for the garden. This was great news to hear because 1. when Jovita tasks a child with a chore, the chore gets done. 2. This particular girl has shown initiative when it comes to the garden, and she is already the leader of a group, which means she can handle responsibility. Previously, we were using funds from this campaign to pay someone, a permaculture student named Hela, to help maintain the garden and continue to work with the children while we weren't physically there. Hela got us through the summer in a great way and is now off to finish school. Thanks, Hela and to all of you supporters who helped the Children's home have salads for this long. Of course, doing anything for a while helps you dial in the methods, and our most recent salad was the biggest one in a while. Rain season makes it hard to grow sprouts because we dont get the same amount of sun, and the rain soaks the soil. If we had a greenhouse, it would a. have to be super solid to not get damaged or blow around the orphanage in the rains, b. it would get very hot, and c. the sun still doesnt shine much during rainy days. In one sense, rain is great for the ground, though for the sprout station, keeping the rain out and making sure we can control the watering may be better. Having an automatic watering system is the next step, and this is still being realized.
- Studying aquaponics and hydroponics to build a model for the Children's home that I will start by growing lettuce. The goal is to build the first model this month and to work out kinks and have a secure system by December. Securing the system through the winds is our current focus, as well as continuing to study healthy fish farming techniques and organic aquaponic applications. Always open to advice from experts and I will continue to reach out to some as I find out who to speak with. Someone told me the best teachers are also the best students.
- Editing a great video interview featuring Jovita, the mother of the Marsh Children's Home! In addition to her 25+ Years as Founder and Director of the Marsh Children's Home, Jovita Godínez has a diploma in Evolutionary Child Psychology from the Universidad de Anáhuac, completed in 2004. In 2013, Jovita Godínez was nominated for "CNN's Heroes", an annual competition to honor those who devote their lives to serving their communities.
- More exciting news is on the way, stay tuned!!
Update from 7/22
Checking in from Acapulco, this is Brent Kaufman with an update!
If you recall, this campaign started with Alais offering an art-based after-school program. As I continued to join, we quickly realized that supporting the children's healthy diet was pretty important.
Stage 1 began with building a sprout station. This soon evolved into the orphanage offering to dedicate a significant space in the home for us to build an actual garden. Alais took leadership with the sprout station, while I developed plans for the rest of the garden.
These plans included building a fence to keep the dog out of the garden, allowing the children to learn respect for the garden, as well as building a fence that will stand up to the local ocean climate. Also, I decided to build a raised garden planter so that we can grow some of the sprouts to a full term in order to get more seeds for future harvests.
. The idea of teaching some of the older boys how to fish was a good one. 5 boys ultimately learned how to fish Acapulco style, with a net. In fact, they all caught fish! Many different types in a short period of time, right from the beach. Unfortunately, when I left Acapulco, Jovita asked me to temporarily pause the fishing class until I come back. Jovita is the 89-year-old phenom who runs the home, by herself. She is an angel that was also an orphan, and her incredible work and care show through the children's love and happiness.
. Before I left Acapulco, I had the fence completed, as well as the raised garden planter. The fence was built by a welder who cemented PVC directly into the home's foundation. We used chain-link mesh for the fence and built a functional and lockable gate door for access to the garden. The garden is also growing other fruits, vegetables, and herbs like pineapples, citronella, and tomatoes.
I realized that rather than continually relying on donations, the best way for this orphanage to sustain itself is by having a farm. The small picture is powered by donations, while the bigger picture sees the farm sustaining itself.
BACK IN ACAPULCO
Searching for land to establish a farm for the children's home.
There are multiple options, the best-case scenario is something close enough for the children to walk to. Being close will help support their ability to get to the farm often, while Jovita can make it part of their schedule. There are options further away, that are bigger, though they are not within walkable distance. Tomorrow I have a big meeting with the Commissioner of the area to discuss his support and perhaps any land options he may have. No land sales go through without him. The other day I met with a respected Mexican attorney who gave me consult on how to start a legitimate organization called a Civil Association that will help the program legally accept donations and even government support. That has a $2500 fee just for creating the CA. Seems expensive, compared to starting a charity in America. Perhaps I will ask other attorneys as well. This attorney did take me to see land yesterday that was huge and beautiful and very large. The land costs $40,000. It is a 10-minute drive from the home, and in a very secure area. Perfect for growing food of many types. We would need to raise enough money very soon to get this land.
. There is another opportunity presenting itself that is a walkable distance from the home, although it's a little bit of a walk. The land is 17x30 meters which is enough to grow way more organic food than the children currently get. There is more land available surrounding this small piece of land, and together the cost is $600 per month, including a building that we can use as a shade, providing an indoor education center, a kitchen, and potential for living quarters for the farm caretaker. The goal would be to buy the land or rent the land for 5 years to develop a successful model and then buy the land. The 5 years cost for the space is $36,000 - not counting labor, materials, utilities, startup costs, land prep, etc., or anything else.
A successful model looks like a farm that grows multiple kinds of staple foods that feed the children's home, year-round. Tomato, Chile, and Onion are staple foods they use often. With the ability to have land long-term, we can grow a fruit orchard that will help feed the home abundantly. Nopal, banana, mango, papaya, coconuts, and more. A successful bigger picture looks like a scaled-up version that grows enough food to sustain the children's home, as well as sustainably offers fresh produce for sale locally. This way we can pay for the farm itself, and perhaps even generate revenue back into the home with profits. We can even make products with the food we can grow, and generate revenue through sales. There is currently no fresh market in the immediate area, so this would be the first. Educating children about how to grow food, prepare food, make products, sell food, and sell products are invaluable lessons. That is the goal, food, and education! We will see what the Creator has in store for how this prayer and project will continue to unfold. Thank you for your support and for sharing this page with people who care. - Brent
Update from 3/22
Greetings & Gratitude from Alais Clay & Brent 'BURNTmd' Kaufman- We are both activist/hip hop musicians & are currently volunteering to co-create an after-school gardening, food & art program running from February through the middle of April, as well as a sustainable year-round garden @ Marsh’s Children’s Home in Acapulco, Mexico.
100% of proceeds from this campaign go towards our ability to supply food, and garden supplies (seeds, soil, starter, pots, pallets, garden tools, etc) for the children to learn how to grow their own fresh food on site. Most of the proceeds are going towards gardening + food supplies, but we are also picking up some art, music & sports supplies & well as healthy snacks for the orphans.
This video footage is from some of the activities we have done with the children over the last few weeks. We have started our sprouting station and this week will be getting the hoop-house going to create a dedicated shaded garden area for all our sprouts.
With your support, we can help these children grow a community garden that will grow seeds to feed them for seasons and generations to come!
Help us make this after-school program something remarkable =) Please consider donating and sharing with your friends & family!
Our long-term goals for this project are to create, build, maintain, and support a sustainable year-round gardening program to help them be less dependent on donations. Currently, the home has over 60 children who are dependent on donations for everything, including food.
Many blessings & thank you for your support!
~ Alais Clay & BURNTmd