01/28/2012: Baking Bread for India
Hello to our friends from around the world.
I want to share with you an exciting project that I am coordinating.
In February of this year, my husband, three children and I moved to the campus of the South Andhra Section of Seventh-day Adventists in Ibrahimpatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. We came here to start an Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism (AFCOE). I will not take the space here to explain how we were invited to head up this project or how we were able to get our Indian visas. What I do want to share with you is not about AFCOE (save that for another time) but about another project I have started since coming here.
The campus of the section office is combined with the campus of a nice Seventh-day Adventist higher secondary school, with around 700 students this year. After getting adjusted to the climate and living conditions here, we began to get acquainted with the principal and students of the school. Upon showing us around the campus and sharing how the school operates, the principal told us about a burden he has had for this school for a long time, and that is to start a bakery, not only to provide bread for the school, but also to sell to the neighboring communities as a source of income for the school.
This particular Seventh-day Adventist school is known in the area as a school for orphans because so many orphans and poor people attend here, made possible because the school charges very low fees and many of the children receive sponsorships from donors overseas. However, because the school charges such low fees, they often have difficulty meeting their budget needs, part of which is food expense for the 500+ students who live on campus. Because of this, the students eat only rice and curry two to three times a day. Only once a week the students receive bread, and this, of course, is not the best bread.
Let me stop here and tell you about bread in India. Almost all of the bread in India is white bread made with unfortified white flour, so it has no nutrition or fiber. Not only do they not enrich the flour, but they also add a lot of refined sugar so that the bread tastes like cake. This bread is not good for health, yet it is looked upon as a healthy food by most Indians. In fact, they eat bread when they are sick instead of rice, believing that it will help them recover faster.When I eat this bread I usually start feeling sick! There is very little brown bread available, and most of that is white bread with a little less sugar, but with coloring added so it looks brown.
It is my dream to make good, nutritious, whole wheat bread that will not only taste good, but be good for health. I believe that it is possible, and I also believe that it will become popular very fast in India.
Back to my story. After listening to the principal tell his vision for a bakery, my husband graciously shared with him how good I
am at making bread: tasty, healthy bread. Hearing this, the principal requested that I be in charge of the bakery, setting it up and getting it operating. I was rather hesitant to take on a big project like this. Yes, I do make good bread, and I have made a lot of bread before, but not on a commercial level. But I decided that I would try and do my best. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.
The first thing we started was to raise money for the equipment. It would take around $5,000.00 to get the necessary equipment and supplies. After raising most of this money, we started looking for equipment, which meant we had to travel to Bangalore where they make ovens and bakery equipment.
The principal is giving us the old boys dorm for the bakery which has three large rooms that we can use. Two rooms will be used for the bakery, and the third will be for a gym. Renovations have
started on the rooms, and the roof is also being repaired. Two things have happened that delayed the equipment delivery, although it has been ordered for several weeks. The principal, who has diabetes, had to go to the hospital several times, as his blood sugar was so high for so long that he is suffering from liver, kidney and other organ damage. He is in charge of the bank account, and the equipment must be paid for upon delivery. But after he came back from the hospital and arranged the money, the truck delivering the equipment was in a wreck, and damaged the equipment so badly that it had to be returned. Another delivery is expected, but holidays and a strike will delay it a few more days.
Once the equipment comes, I will go to the nearest flour mill to get freshly ground whole wheat flour. The plan is to make buns for the students, at least two each twice a week, so that would be over two thousand buns a week. We will be making about 100 loaves of bread a week to sell on campus. As we get more efficient and the word spreads, we will open a small shop out in front of the school and sell bread there as a source of income for the school. Pray that God will bless these plans according to His will. I am trusting that God will provide the money when and where needed.
Rebecca Pomianowski, Andhra Pradesh, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.