Blog

A letter to viewers: The start of open hands/get involved

It began over twelve years ago in 2002 when my brother Paul, who went to heaven in February 2005, sent me a goat for Christmas, not literally, but as a gift to be given to change a poor life somewhere in the world. It instantly created a spark in my mind, “to reach a person’s heart, meet an immediate need.” Thus began a significant change in my journeys to Namibia. As important as building relationships, it was also the gifts (thanks to so many of you known too so few) of vegetable seeds, chickens, goats and cattle that were beginning to make a difference and opening their hearts to a message that would change their lives forever.  Since 2003, and especially since 2010 when I was called fulltime to Namibia, a multitude of lives have been physically improved and an untold amount of hearts has been changed for eternity.

As OPEN HANDS TO AFRICA, a non-profit charitable organization, formed in 2008, continued to grow and nurture families through projects from livestock, providing micro-business loans to proven entrepreneurs, community/school garden projects, irrigation systems and village wells. For the balance of 2014 I invite you to join with me for the opportunity to change lives. The goal is $32,300 to include the following projects:

$15,000 – to provide a 4x4 replacement vehicle (Toyota pickup double cab) lost in a serious accident in February. By God’s grace only non-life threatening surgeries were necessary to get be back on the playing field.

  • $6,000 – to bore a water well in a remote village named Ojimbingwe
  • $5,000 – to provide 10 pregnant cows ($500 each) to 10 farm families
  • $4,000 – to provide 50 pregnant goats ($80 each) to 40-80 farm families
  • $1,500 – to provide an irrigation system for a 15 hectare community garden
  • $700 – to provide 100 chickens ($7 each) to 25-50 families
  • $800 – to provide 1 million vegetable seeds ($8/packet) for community, school and individual gardens

One time or monthly tax deductible gifts of any amount may be sent online at our website, OPENHANDSTOAFRICA.org, or by check to our treasurer’s address below. Indicate Namibia and your desired project on the memo line.

Most of all I covet your prayers for boldness, discernment and direction in a barren land.  I look forward to sharing His victories.
 
Larry Sherman

A Portrait of the Himba People: The past and present live together in Africa.

 There is no more visible example than the Himba people in Namibia on the southwest coast of Africa. They have preserved their ancient lifestyle, appearance and traditions, even though the world has changed dramatically. 


Several thousand Himbas live in small settlements hidden in the Kaokoland region of northern Namibia, an arid wilderness known for its rugged mountains, desert elephants, giraffes, zebras and black rhinos. They are a pastoral people who live like their ancestors hundreds of years ago.
 

Most Himba men wear Western-style shorts and T-shirts and tend herds of goats or travel to find work to support their families. Goats are valued highly not only for their milk, meat and hides but also as a form of currency used to buy other items.
 

The round huts in Himba villages have cone-shaped thatched roofs and are constructed of sticks covered with a mixture of mud and dung. They have dirt floors and open windows and doors. All cooking is done outside, and trees, strung with cooking utensils, serve as kitchens. Goats’ milk is kept in large gourd containers with corn-cob plugs. The gourds are hung from low tree limbs with strips of leather and swung rhythmi- cally to make yogurt.
 

Himba women cook, clean, sew, look after the children and spend a considerable amount of time each day caring for their appearance. Most wear only loincloths and short goatskin skirts, but they color their upper bodies red, showcase ornate hair- styles and adorn themselves with large pieces of traditional jewelry.
 

Each morning, the women rub their skin with a mixture of ochre, animal fat, herbs and the fragrant resin of the Omuzumba shrub. Ochre is a pigment obtained by washing red clay to separate the sand and then evaporating the water in the sun. The mixture gives their skin a rich reddish glow and is considered beautiful. It also keeps the skin clean and provides protection from the sun and mosquitoes.

The Tale of the Namibian Goat

Now one of the really practical ways to minister to the folks in Namibia is to provide livestock to destitute families to enable them to fight their way out of poverty. This was the case last June when I found homes for a number of some very fat pregnant goats.  So it was with great anticipation when I returned in November to see the progress of this endeavor.  

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Different Opportunities

I have been encountering some different opportunities. Turns out there are 140 street kids we are catering to that are actually being taught to play brass instruments. Tonight I told them I once played the tuba about 50 years ago. They want me to perform tomorrownight. That would be a stretch.

 

This weekend I met a very interesting lady in Windhoek, Meme Sarah - women of the year twice in Namibia. Her profession - she takes ex-convicts how to farm and raise chickens. Looking into the cost of importing a 1,000 egg incubator from South Africa.

 

With some of the Peace Corps volunteers training in Namibia, ran into a couple of young ladies wanting to start a Sunday School Class at a 5 Rand tent church. Will give it a go next Sunday.

 

11pm now so will say good night.

 

Larry

LARRY SHERMAN – Retiring and Off to Africa

 After a rewarding and satisfying career spanning parts of five decades and 8 U.S. Presidents, Port Director, Supervisor, Passenger Service Manager, Inspector and Customs Patrol Officer Larry Sherman announces his retirement, effective July 3, 2010.

 

 

Serving 36+ years in 3 countries, at seaports, land borders, airports, and preclearance stations, he will be moving to Africa in August 2010 to begin the next chapter of his life.

 

 

Since 2002, Sherman began fulfilling a life long passion by spending his annual leave days in the African countries of Namibia and Angola where he co-founded a non-profit charitable organization named OPEN HANDS TO AFRICA.  Their mission statement is to provide SEEDs of Hope (Spiritual, Educational & Economic Development) to the poorest of poor in Namibia and Angola.  Extensively traveling the remote regions of these countries, Sherman has embedded himself in the lives of the indigenous folks by living and working in their villages. There he provides micro-business loans, livestock plus animal husbandry techniques, agricultural seed projects, medical & eye care, as well as educational opportunities to help people help themselves by offering a helping hand rather than a hand out.

 

 

A roast, celebration, or sigh of relief for his departure will be held in the International Departure Lounge at the Orlando Sanford International Airport at 1900 (7 PM) on Thursday July 1, 2010.  Those of you who wish to attend are welcome and those who care to send an email can do so to Mr. Sherman directly (larry.sherman@dhs.gov) or in care of CBP Officers Lee Pugh (lee.j.pugh@dhs.gov) or Jamie Schiefer (jamie.c.schiefer@dhs.gov).  Please RSVP to Officers Pugh or Schiefer if you plan on attending. (407-322-6019 Ext. 0).