One of our long-term goals at Sons of Thunder is to work ourselves out of a job. We desire to participate in training so that missionaries there are a blessing, not a necessity. It has been our delight to see this desire begin to blossom. Many of our missionary teams have brought skills to the field and have spent time training the nationals who had interest in their fields of experience. We have assisted many others there in taking special classes. This has resulted, with assistance, in several individuals starting personal enterprises.
A couple of ladies who were retired home economics teachers in high school came to the farm, bought 4 sewing machines and trained some of the ladies in sewing. They left the machines, and one of the ladies started an enterprise, hiring several of the trained ladies, than selling their merchandise in local markets and to tourists.
One of the men came to us with a well developed business plan for buying and raising baby chicks until grown, then butchering and selling them as fryers. He built his own hen house, received a little help, and purchased warming lamps, food, and the chicks. He hired help in butchering. Chicken are great food source.
This has been a wonderful help to Sons of Thunder to have a mechanic on the farm to maintain and do basic repair on our machinery. He has opened his own shop, adds a tool when he can afford to, or as one is donated. We sent him to school for further training. Many of our mission teams have had mechanics that worked with him. Today, he helps not only Sons of Thunder, but also other missionaries, and some of the nationals who are beginning to own equipment.
There is some beautiful wood in Africa, and it amazes me what a gifted artisan can do with only a few tools. I’ve watched our furniture man make chairs and beds and tables, also desks for our school, and pews for our church. Someday, he would like to have a shop where he could put some of the pieces on display. Now, he makes things on order and stays very busy.
Sons of Thunder has trained a rather full building crew, with carpenters, block layers, plumbers and electricians. There are several who are good at reading plans and over-seeing entire projects. They either hire themselves out to other crews, or secure a project and do it themselves. We trust any building chores we have entirely to this excellent crew.
Men and women have been trained in good farming (FGW), and their crops have been excellent. Two of the men have developed markets in town with grocery stores and hotels. They have developed a co-op business helping the farmers get the very best money for their produce.