Families Blessed as Green Oases Emerge in Syria

August 15, 2022 • Syria
Alba eagerly tends her field in Syria, grateful for the help of Samaritan's Purse agricultural experts.

Farmers defy odds and grow vegetables in a drought-stricken area, thanks to Samaritan’s Purse agricultural experts. Read one woman’s story.

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Miles and miles of golden wheat stretch out across the rolling plains of Syria. Sadly, however, due to an ongoing drought, the expansive fields are dry, unlikely to actually yield enough grain for an adequate harvest. Though it may appear hopeless, what choice do farmers have but to plant and hope for the best? The only apparent alternative is to abandon the fields that have been in their families for generations and move to larger cities to find jobs.

Fortunately, some have found a different strategy, and scattered among the fields are patches of green—glimmers of hope that a Samaritan’s Purse agriculture engineer calls “little oases amid a desert.” These pockets of growth are the result of our Syria agriculture program, which provides farmers summer vegetable seeds—such as tomato, cucumber, zucchini, and okra—and also provides irrigation methods and organic fertilizer that help their new crops thrive. In this dry environment, the drip-irrigation kits we give to farmers allow them to control water flow and save up to 70 percent more water than traditional methods. The organic fertilizer also helps because it creates a moisture-preserving layer in the soil.

The lush vegetable crops farmers are now harvesting allow them to feed their families and sell to local markets. They are even utilizing food preservation techniques to save their produce for the winter season. This creates an opportunity for farmers to continue in their profession and provide for their families even though the wheat harvests are increasingly unreliable.

Opportunities for the Vulnerable

One farmer named Alba received seeds from Samaritan’s Purse and continues to regularly reach out to our team. She is proactive in her commitment to vegetable farming, asking for advice on how much fertilizer to use and how to protect her crops from forecasted dust storms.

For 16 years, Alba has lived in the same village with her two daughters and five sons, who are all between the ages of 5 and 16. Her husband lives elsewhere and is not a part of their daily lives. As a result, Alba must provide for her large family on her own. Yet, because her husband owns a house and land, she does not qualify for most aid. She said through tears that Samaritan’s Purse was the first organization that truly saw her and provided support to her.

“If I could spend all my time out there, I would.”

When our staff first met Alba and offered assistance, she did not hesitate to start a plot of vegetables. She had cultivated smaller kitchen gardens before, but without an irrigation system, attempting anything larger was difficult and risky. With the kit we provided, however, she now tends a more than 5,000-square foot plot despite temperatures that soar to 115 Fahrenheit. She regularly works in this field, about a 10-minute walk from her home, for four hours around sunrise and then another four hours in the late afternoon after the temperature cools.

“I feel so relaxed,” Alba said of working her plot. “If I could spend all my time out there, I would.”

Work Is Etched in Her Hands

The agricultural engineer who has coached Alba for the past three months particularly noticed the inside of her hands. Shaped by hours working in her field, her palms were caked with dirt, making every line visible. These hands were not an embarrassment, but a sign of her strength and dignity.

“I have my field,” she said. “I do not have much in my home, but I can work in this field.”

“I do not have much in my home, but I can work in this field.”

Alba was once much like the person in need in the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Overlooked by others, she needed a caring touch to continue on her journey. Samaritan’s Purse gladly provided that for her through the summer vegetable seeds package. This winter, she and 85 other farmers will also receive winter vegetable seeds to cultivate. They are all supported by weekly visits from the agricultural team. Despite all the adversity, “Alba is a confident one!” they say.

Please pray for these farmers that God would strengthen their hands, protect their fields, and bring a surplus yield to provide for their families.

SUPPORT
Working through churches and local Christian partners, Samaritan’s Purse provides farmers with seeds and tools that are appropriate for the particular soil and climate where they live. For a gift of $55, we can supply drought-resistant plants, fertilizer, tools, and training for gardeners and farmers as we sow seeds for the Gospel.
Help a Poor Farming Family Working through churches and local Christian partners, Samaritan’s Purse provides farmers with seeds and tools that are appropriate for the particular soil and climate where they live. For a gift of $55, we can supply drought-resistant plants, fertilizer, tools, and training for gardeners and farmers as we sow seeds for the Gospel.

Farm & Garden Projects 013657
Suggested Gift: $35
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