Gogetfunding Campaign Update

July 22, 2014 in Agriculture, Projects, Roots International, Scott Montgomery by Roots International

Fundraising with GoGetFunding


*Thanks to everyone’s interest, support, and generous donations we are now at 33% of our goal as of July 20th!*



I am Scott Montgomery, founder of a US based NGO, Roots International, Inc. You can read more about why an accountant would move from rural Virginia to South Sudan here. I have created this fundraiser as I begin my second year serving in South Sudan, which you can read more about below.

Currently Scott is managing a demonstration farm located within the grounds of the Chrisco Church of Yei here in Yei, South Sudan. Also this year, Roots International is implementing a program to introduce ox plowing to the community. In 2013 we received generous donations to allow us to purchase the oxen, and they have begun plowing within the demonstration farm. We are in the process of securing funding for these programs and necessary equipment, however, first we need to find support to continue our founder’s stay here in Yei, South Sudan.

To date Scott has contributed, personally, over $20,000 to this work. In 2012 he flew to Africa leaving behind everything which would not fit in two suitcases and one carryon bag. In 2013 he sourced all items necessary for this work including a 4wd vehicle and mechanics tools, a home office and all office equipment, farming tools and seeds, and other household items. Below are the requirements for Scott to live in South Sudan another year.

scott yearly budget gogetfunding

Christmas 2013 in Yei, South Sudan

Christmas 2013 in Yei, South Sudan








Rest assured your donation will have a large impact. In addition to the agriculture work which Scott founded in Yei, he also has a wider impact to the community. Scott has an affinity for children and enjoys spending time with them and supporting their development. During the last quarter of 2013 Scott lived with four girls ages 10-16 and their elder brother of 18 years. With his help of providing food and a stable household they were able to focus more on their education. The children are now living nearby with their new, caring stepmother and are doing very well.

Julie with toy truck

Julie with toy truck

Julie's fall 2013 report card

Julie’s fall 2013 report card









Please share the page with others and contribute what you can afford here, in a number of ways on our website, or to any other worthy cause. If you are specifically interested in supporting work in war affected areas of South Sudan, consider supporting the work that Nonviolent Peaceforce is doing within UNMIS civilian protection sites and in remote areas of South Sudan.

Thank you for your support,

Scott Montgomery
Roots International, Inc.

Roots Season 1 Results

January 3, 2014 in Agriculture, Projects, Roots International by Roots International

Roots Season 1 Results

Wet season – July-Nov 2013

First season trials included:

Chili Pepper – These peppers were very productive and enjoyed when added to other foods for flavor.  There is little market locally for this hot pepper, but some success selling to the Ethiopians living in Yei.  A larger market and higher price exists in Juba.  We will continue to grow and explore other uses such as perimeter planting to deter insects, chili powder production, and homemade insecticidal soaps.

Cherokee Purple Tomato – We grew a small sample due to poor germination method.  The fruit struggled to ripen in the hot weather and production was quite low. Also much of the leaves were lost due to early blight.  Some seed was saved to try planting in future.  Other heirloom varieties grown commercially in Florida have been sourced to try during the next rainy season.

California Wonder Bell Pepper – Unfortunately due to some confusion while Scott was first settling in Yei, there only managed to be two plants grown to maturity.  However one of the two plants after bearing its first fruit, set about twenty fruit on a plant no more than 18” tall!  We have ordered more seed of this type as well as other highly productive varieties to test during the dry season.  There is a large market for sweet pepper and a high price (approx.3 for $1.00)

Zucchini – We grew about a dozen plants on arrival and enjoyed the first set of fruit.  The rains kept the soil too wet so they did not survive much longer than that.  The second crop was heavily affected by the insects which were disturbing the melons.  To see that the melons could be properly tested we used the zucchini as a sacrifice to keep the bugs away.  This dry season we have planted more zucchini and will be able to grow enough to start establishing a local market.  Those who have tried this squash enjoyed it very much when added to beans which are typically eaten with rice, potatoes, or cassava.

Charleston Grey Watermelon – Grew well, but fruit rotted during the rainy season.  Plants were mulched heavily towards the end of the rainy season but the fruit still rotted.  We have planted some smaller varieties during the dry season in hopes that will bring of good results.  Large melons sell for over $3.00 each so we are hopeful to find a productive variety for this area.

Cantaloupe – Same results as watermelon.  Seedlings were bothered by insects but grew back after weekly spraying of insecticidal soap.  Cantaloupe, though originating in Africa, is not seen in South Sudan or even Uganda.  We are anxious to see them growing and will consider it a great achievement.  We have been describing cantaloupe as similar to a papaya but one that grows on a vine!

*Special thanks to Jenky Montgomery of Ararat, Virginia for donating the above seeds from her local nursery.

Asian Yardlong bean – This bean germinated very fast and needed little maintenance.  We provided trellis for their vines to grow on using cassava stalks.  Since the trial packages are small (about 40 seeds) we planted only six.  Of the five plants that grew, they produced many large pods which we saved for seed.  After counting with the help of some of our little neighbors, we had counted about 415 seeds.  We recalled the parable of the sower and wondered if we had kept the weeds from growing if they would have produced a hundred fold.  We will grow these during the next rainy season mostly for introduction as a fresh green bean.

*Many thanks to ECHO of Ft. Myers, Florida for provided this seed along with others as part of their ambassador program which assists missionaries and farmers in the third world.

Green Zebra Tomato – This tomato produced quite well which it is known for to those who grow it in the US.  This tomato did not suffer from early blight as much as other varieties which were growing.  Despite lacking water towards the end of the rainy season it managed to live and allow some fruit to fully ripen.  We have saved many seeds to try again next rainy season.

Help save Edward’s vision!

October 22, 2013 in Agriculture, Projects, Roots International by Roots International

Edward with his wife Katty and oldest daughter, Cinderella

Two years ago Edward Opio, his wife Katty, and their seven children relocated from their home of Lira, Uganda to Yei, South Sudan. Edward had previously worked in South Sudan, as a carpenter, building most of the nation’s first churches with Samaritan’s Purse.  Eventually he decided to leave his home and return (this time with the entire family) to help grow the Chrisco Church of Yei as well as the world’s newest nation.  Edward also managed to bring along two oxen which he had already trained for plowing farmland.

Edward Opio donated the bulls to the church with a vision of providing a means for the church to support itself and to provide work for its youth members.  However, due to pressing financial needs of maintaining the church and school, it was decided to sell the oxen.  Unfortunately there is no local market for trained oxen, so they would be slaughtered for meat as ordinary cattle.  See the bulls in action here.

When Edward explained the situation to us, he was very disappointed that the bulls would be lost without fulfilling their potential and his vision.  Rather than allow the oxen to be sold as meat, we would like to instead sell them piece by piece (not literally) to anyone with a heart of developing agriculture in South Sudan.  Your support will allow both the church to meet its needs and allow the bulls to feed a hundredfold over the course of their career with Roots International!


Help reach our goal of: $1,300 by donating via the paypal button on the homepage or by mailing a check to Roots addressed to:

Roots International c/o Alan Weissman
508 SW 9th Street
Cape Coral, FL 33991

Heading to South Sudan

January 28, 2013 in Scott Montgomery, Water by Roots International

In two weeks I will be in South Sudan for a month to set up a new office and accounting systems with my current employer, Kissito Healthcare International. This time of year is the middle of fhe dry season which began a month ago. During dry season the roads will soon become passable throughout South Sudan allowing aid organizations to mobilize humanitarian relief. During the rainy season relief efforts can be reduced to support by air only due to flooding.  Access to clean water will be a huge problem especially in refugee camps. The filters I have brought from the US can produce up to 5,000 liters per day if I can fund and complete the other necessary equipment.

Scott 1.27.13

Whose Bananas?

January 27, 2013 in Agriculture, Scott Montgomery by Roots International

Saturday I bought a small bunch of bananas outside the supermarket to give to a street kid, since I didn’t want to give money.  I had some left that I laid on the table in the office.  Later in the day office and a coworker asked who’s they were, so i said take some.  I actually avoided the orignal question because I wasn’t really sure whose they were anymore.

Scott Montgomery


Fighting world hunger with hunger at home

September 4, 2012 in Scott Montgomery, Water by Roots International

A few weeks ago on International Water Day I tried to celebrate with a full fast.  It was much tougher here in the 100°F+ South Sudan heat, and I nearly passed out at while walking through the UNICEF compound.  Just before sundown I surrendered, because the 16 hours without food or water was as bad as 30 hours from my previous fast, back home in the US.

I realized the news article on that fast from the fall in 2011 had disappeared, but luckily I found it on an internet archive site.  So here it is below:  They never followed up the article, but I went the ten full days with water after day 1 and vitamin after day 5.

Scott Montgomery

Fighting world hunger with hunger at home

A Roanoke County accountant is calling attention to the issue by not eating.

By Beth Macy


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stephanie Klein-Davis | The Roanoke Times

Scott Montgomery, 23, started fasting for 10 days a week ago at sundown during the Jewish day Yom Kippur.

More information:

It began at sundown last Friday during the Yom Kippur fast.

Dreadlocked accountant Scott Montgomery was adhering to the Jewish tenet to “afflict your soul” by abstaining from food or drink for 24 hours.

He was working at home Saturday and trying to ignore his growling stomach when the idea occurred to him in a state of “enhanced thinking,” as he recalled.

He’d been searching for a way to support his employer’s in-house campaign to fight malnutrition in Uganda and Ethiopia. His colleagues at Kissito Healthcare International, based in Roanoke County, were already competing with one another, holding yard sales and other fundraisers to see who could raise the most money to purchase Plumpy’nut, a peanut butterlike protein used to combat starvation in the Third World.

Montgomery, 23, would fight hunger with hunger. His own.

He would go on a 10-day hunger strike, with only drinking water to sustain him.

He appealed to 500-plus friends on Facebook that they could save a life if they donated $5 for each day of his strike.

As one contributor wrote on his wall: “We have made a small donation. Now stop starving before you disappear, Scott.”

The Patrick County native earnestly replied: “I can stop starving anytime; we need to help those who cannot without help!”

Program is a partnership

The reaction was mixed at the headquarters of Kissito, a nonprofit with enterprises that range from nine nursing homes in Virginia, Texas and Arizona to seven hospitals in Ethiopia and Uganda.

(Kissito’s international facilities are run in collaboration with governments and nongovernmental organizations.)

Elizabeth Parsons, who directs the international operation, was appreciative but a little alarmed by Montgomery’s gesture. “It’s not like he’s got a lot of extra meat on his bones now,” she said. At 5 feet 11 inches, Montgomery weighed 145 pounds at the start of Yom Kippur but was down to 136 halfway through the strike.

“Seriously,” Parsons added, raising an eyebrow toward him. “If you get dizzy, you have to stop.”

Keisha Graziadei-Shup, the company’s integrated media manager, thought Montgomery’s fundraising stunt was cool and complemented the company’s nontraditional business approach. “I wouldn’t be able to function myself, but props to you,” she told him.

Four days into the strike, Montgomery reported that his energy was low and his emotions dull. “Starving children don’t show emotion, and I’m kind of like that now,” he said Tuesday. “Somebody made a joke yesterday, and I didn’t laugh at all.”

The hunger had lifted, but he was exhausted and sleeping 10 hours a night. He struggled to get out of bed in the morning.

The number of push-ups he was able to muster: one. “Which is not that many fewer than I can normally do,” he said, cracking a smile and, quite possibly after all, a joke.

He hadn’t told his mother yet because he knew she’d worry. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease his sophomore year at Longwood University, he was already following a vegan diet, eating mainly fruits and vegetables.

He typically eats salad at every meal.

By Wednesday, a friend had persuaded him to take a multivitamin, and he was not ruling out the possibility of drinking fruit juice toward the end of the ordeal.

Montgomery handles accounting for the company’s international operations. It was he who recorded that four women delivered babies via cesarean section in Kissito’s Ugandan facilities one recent day. Before the maternal center opened in March, “That could have been eight deaths instead of four births,” he said.

Kissito’s malnutrition program is an extension of hospital operations in Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as a partnership with a Ugandan nongovernmental organization called Serving His Children, run by Bedford County native Renee Bach. “You look at the press, and sometimes the numbers [of people starving] are so big, people go brain dead,” said Kissito CEO Tom Clarke.

“A lot of people think it’s only happening in Dadaab, a refugee camp in northern Kenya. But the food shortage is all over the Horn of Africa. I was in a town last week where the mayor told me they’d buried 18 children, dead of starvation, in the past 15 days.”

Kissito’s facilities alone have counted nine children this year who were too sick to be rehabilitated. By the time the starving reach the hospitals – Clarke said some walk from Kenya to reach his facilities – they are often so sick they can’t eat.

He spoke from his cellphone in London’s Heathrow airport, en route to Roanoke from Uganda, where he and a Boston University researcher had spent the past two weeks fine-tuning a partnership between BU medical residents and Kissito. Clarke said a partnership with Harvard University’s Global Hunger Initiative is also in the works.

Clarke knew Montgomery was special when he hired him, he said, though his dreadlocks did initially give Clarke pause.

“While some people may say he’s just doing accounting work, he understands his role is critical in saving lives,” Clarke said.

Employees pitch in

On Thursday, Montgomery’s boss sent him on an errand that was not unlike sending an alcoholic into a bar.

Reached on his cellphone, he was standing in a Western Union line to transfer money to Kissito’s international accounts — inside a nearby Kroger. He was also going to buy pomegranate juice for possible use later in the strike but hoped he’d be able meet the 10-day mark on water and vitamins alone. (As of Friday, the juice was still untouched in his fridge. He was down to 134 pounds.)

Companywide, employees had pitched in nearly $7,000 toward the Plumpy’nut campaign. Montgomery’s portion was $576, counting the $150 he would have spent on food, which he also planned to donate. (By his count, one $58 case of Plumpy’nut can save one life.)

During a Friday staff meeting, a manager had passed around a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, apologizing profusely when he realized the candy might be tempting Montgomery. It wasn’t.

Another concerned co-worker offered to buy out his hunger strike early, but Montgomery planned to negotiate a buyout donation at the 10-day mark instead. After all, at 74, Mahatma Gandhi famously survived 21 days of total starvation, and some strikers have fasted as long as 40 days.

Reared in rural Ararat, Montgomery has never traveled internationally and said this was his first act of social protest.

Asked what he planned to eat first after the strike, he smiled shyly and brushed his dreadlocks back from his face.

“A salad, probably,” he said.


Copyright © 2013