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!*

 

Hello/Salam,

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.

Favorite Photos from 2013

April 27, 2014 in Roots International, Scott Montgomery by Roots International

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

Bon Voyage 9.25.12 Part 2

March 30, 2013 in Roots International, Scott Montgomery by Roots International

Continued from

I began to leave Entebbe airport and as I was ten steps from the door, I was asked, “What are in these bags?”  I explained to the customs staff that they were medical supplies for an NGO I work for and was told that the items must be inspected first.  I then waited for about one and a half hours for a representative from the National Drug Authority of Uganda (NDA) to arrive for the inspection.  As I mostly deal with accounting matters, I was unaware of any regulations for bringing items into the country which I began explaining to the NDA staff.  Upon inspection many of the supplies had sterility issues such as being past the expiration and/or opened.  The NDA staff was very helpful explaining which items would not be allowed to enter and the process to clear the other items for entrance.  The customs staff did not share the same professionalism and started getting hostile, demanding for my passport, making accusations, etc.

Fortunately I was able to keep the situation from escalating, ensure the items we kept safe, get a receipt, and not fall asleep (by now I had been awake over two days straight!)  Unfortunately a large box of water filters which I purchased in the US and brought with me was disturbed by the other NGO’s items and also had to stay at the airport.  During my fourth hour in Uganda I finally reconvened with my travel mate and finally met our driver, Wandera.

Wandera was very friendly and after watching many near misses with other vehicles, people, bodas (motorbikes), and animals I began to realize that the driving style is much more aggressive in Uganda and he was in fact a very good driver.  I don’t sleep well in cars either so instead I watched the banana trees, sugarcane, corn, children playing, the roadside shops all zoom by through the window.  It got dark by the time we reached Jinja which is about halfway to Mbale.  After taking some passion juice and vegetable samosa we continued to Mbale.

During the rest of the drive it rained, but I was surprised to see many people walking, riding bicycles, or taking boda in some areas where you could not see any towns or even lights for miles.  Also one of the first noticeable differences in Africa is children travelling by themselves or with other children is very normal.  This was true even at night on the side of a dangerous road during the rain.

We finally reached Mbale and upon arriving at the guest house quickly met all of the Uganda team (mostly again).  I found my room and figured out how to arrange the mosquito net.   I still couldn’t sleep for about an hour, but after turning on some music I finally fell asleep ending my 60 hour journey.  Tomorrow morning another visiting group planned to tour a program near the top of a nearby mountain called Wanale.  It sounded like a nice first day but who knows if I would wake up tomorrow.

Scott Montgomery

Bon Voyage 9.25.2012 Part 1

March 13, 2013 in Roots International, Scott Montgomery by Roots International

‘Scott are you blogging?’  -Well no not really at the moment.  ’Start NOW.’

Point taken, brother.  Maybe I should start from the beginning?

September 25-28 2012

Ararat, VA

I woke up that morning in my childhood home and after saying goodbyes to my grandparents, I departed with my mom and dad to see my sister in Radford, Virginia.  I was surprised by my mom and sister with a necklace she picked out from a good friend which is made of very old and tiny rocks.  The rocks supposedly have protective qualities which Scott Eutsler personally can vouch for!  After eating at a Mexican restaurant I said goodbye to my younger sister and traveled to Roanoke to begin moving out of my apartment.

Roanoke, Virginia

After about six hours of hard work and giving away lots of things I was mostly moved out.  My mom cleaned once I did all that I could do, and we hoped to get much of the security deposit back.  By 11 PM I finally reached Martin’s Downtown in Roanoke for my going away get-together.  Since I was so busy moving out I was a bit late and even missed seeing a few people!   After talking with friends and enjoying some music, I then headed to my employer’s office to move out of my cubicle.

Once I had nearly removed all remnants of myself from my desk, at about 2 AM I began packing my bags for Africa.  I was not at all prepared to find out that my bags were all overweight by about ten pounds each!  After removing a few obvious things I then (due to being tired) found myself irrationally shifting things from one bag to another.  The next two hours were painful as I was forced to choose between taking more of less water filters, more or less personal items, more or less books for medical personnel, etc.

By 4:30 the Kissito HR Manager had arrived (ever so kind of her) to bring me to the Roanoke airport.  I then met my new friend Maegan who was also travelling with the company to Uganda.  We were able to keep each other company in between the flights which we enjoyed the company our Ethiopian and Ugandan row mates.  I was concerned about the strict rules for carry-on luggage, but I was lucky to have one of my carry-on bags checked for free before the Ethiopian Airlines flight.

Dulles Airport, Washington, DC

After browsing the airport shops we then boarded the long flight to Ethiopia.  Thankfully the seat beside me was empty but soon it was being slept in by the Ethiopian man in the same row for the next eight hours.  I was unable to sleep anyway for the entire twelve hours as my mind was too awake from the curiosity of what I would find on the other side.   As we approached Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I watched green fields below, mountains, and many buildings under construction on the edge of the city.  When I stepped off the plane it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit which was a little confusing.  After some math I determined it was about 7AM local time and since Addis is indeed in the mountains that it most likely was Africa after all.

Bole Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

When we landed I couldn’t find any food, but luckily Maegan had a pack of cashews which she was able to spare for me.  Since there was no salad or vegetables on the flight I had fasted and was pretty hungry by then.  We continued waiting for our next flight to Uganda and passed time by observing our Ethiopian, Sudanese, and Ugandan brothers and sisters pass through the airport.  I finally boarded the flight to Entebbe, Uganda after about 48 hours into my ‘day’.  While in route to Uganda I might have slept thirty minutes until the sun finally heated the plane so much that it was impossible.  Soon we arrived in Uganda and made it through the visa queue and were on our way.  Or were we?

Customs Agent, “What’s in these boxes?”

Entebbe, Uganda

To be continued…

 

Ugandan Jewelry at Ripple Roanoke

January 27, 2013 in Roots International by Roots International

Stop by Ripple Roanoke in downtown Roanoke and you will find these beautiful necklaces for sale as well as pictures from my first three months in Uganda such as this one:  Thanks!