Baan Sabaay Horticultural Project
By Rev. Dr. Saad Chaiwan,
There are some activities carried out at Baan Sabaay for the physical and spiritual well-being of people living with HIV. This paper, however, is a reflection from Mrs. Jaruwan Wutti, Vice Director of the AIDS Ministry of the Church of Christ in Thailand, on a recent visit of a small group from East Taieri Church Mosgiel New Zealand. The aim is to train the strong and healthy guests in horticultural skills, and provide a source of food for them while increasing the Ministry economic efficiency. Baan Sabaay generally does not have sufficient income to cover all its running costs. The personnel therefore, have to find ways of motivating Baan Sabaay to become economically stable. It is felt that one of the effective measures in increasing the income of Baan Sabaay, is through its horticultural and agricultural projects, such as raising chickens and fish and growing vegetables. Since the people living on site are mostly healthy enough, they could undoubtedly be responsible for the operation.
The CAM Ministry personnel, therefore have promoted an organic vegetable project. This is totally free from using chemical elements and pesticides through the growing and harvesting processes. These days, people are aware of the need to have a healthy lifestyle, finding the best ways for themselves, through exercise, daily activities, and importantly a safe diet. However, society is seemingly more fragmented than it used to be. Homes and families now tend to be passive consumers, rather than taking an active role as producers, as their forefathers did.
Currently to be efficient enough to supply market demands some producers choose to fast track the process of production and manufacturing through unnatural means to shorten the growing periods. Ino order to ensure the crops are resistant to diseases, insects and pests, they have to use insecticides and pesticides. Even during delivery, the fresh products require preservatives. All these unnatural products have undoubtedly become hazardous to the consumers and the environment.
Thus Baan Sabaay, with the help of the New Zealand church has made every effort to grow organic or chemical-free vegetables the whole year round. While organically grown vegetables may not look as nice to the eye as general vegetables sold in the market, the freshness and nutrients are incomparably better than non organic vegetables.
All products of Baan Sabaay have either been used in its kitchen or sold to the Christian personnel in the Christian institutions and departments, especially at the 75th Anniversary Building of the Church of Christ in Thailand, Chiang Mai. Part of the profits, are ploughed back into Baan Sabaay to offset expenses, and part is used for further investment and growth. This income generating project will give both Baan Sabaay and the people living on site a measure of economic independence (where possible) and renewed hope in life. In short, the vegetable's nutritional value is high and the people living with HIV are encouraged not only to use them for their meals, but also to sell them to support the existence of Baan Sabaay.
On behalf of the CAM staff, we would like to express our profound appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the New Zealanders and their personnel for their support and gracious help. Without their kind assistance this horticultural project would not have been possible.
May God bless them with temporal and spiritual blessings.