Liz Gliem’s decision to attend a service conducted by Iris Ministries founder Heidi Baker at Regent University in 2013 was a decision that changed the course of the Cardngton girl’s life.
A 2006 Cardington-Lincoln High School graduate, Gliem who had earlier made two mission trips to Haiti, was working in Virginia in a horticultural business, related to the Bachelor of Science degree she earned from The Ohio State University in 2010. Learning about the Iris farms where the Moringa tree is grown to provide nutrition when it matures, was intriguing to Gliem who also embraced the mission efforts of the ministries.
She was soon on her way to Mozambique, the African country located on the southeast side of Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean.
For the past three years she has been the advisor to an average of 25
contracted workers on the 126 acre Moringa tree farm located in Mieze, near Pemba, a city of about 100,000 where fishing and off shore oil supplies are the principal occupations.
Mieze is the site of the mission where children live who have been abandoned or otherwise left homeless. “They are brought in by Iris or Social Services and live in dormitories and are cared for here with schooling and fed regular meals from infancy to 18 years,” said Gliem. After 18 years they
are integrated back into society. The mission also conducts regular church
“We are currently feeding 1500 kids – this includes the 200 kids who live on the base plus the kids in the village,” she explained.
Children are left homeless when mothers die in childbirth or disease such as malaria or cholera because medical care is at a minimum- “We provide it as best we can,” she said. There is a clinic in Pemba with limited ability. “More and more doctors and other professionals are coming to join the effort there,” said Gliem.
The Moringa trees are planted on five acres of the 126 acre farm.
“I sow the seeds in 500 pots and we plant 500 trees at a time- it’s a continual process. When the trees are a year old, we use scissors to clip the leaves which are ground into a powder and sifted with a flour sifter – and the powder is placed in the rice and beans and fed to the children. The powder provides iron and protein.
They work six hours a day- usually in the morning to early afternoon because the heat becomes oppressive. She said the official language is Portuguese which she speaks fluently.
She lives minutes away from the farm and enjoy recreation on the Mozambique beach where soccer and other beach games are played.
She plans to stay indefinitely.