Our flights were smooth and on time! We were delighted to see many friends over the day and a half we spent in Nairobi. It was REALLY cold in Nairobi - we needed extra covers at night and had to wear a cardigan/sweater/jumper until about noon each day and the don it again at sundown.
It was off to Kisumu and Kadawa on July 29th, where we spent 2 nights with missionary friends until our place was available. It is NOT cold here. Our friend, Jeremy Bell arrived from the UK for his first visit to Africa on the 31st (with jumper in hand - since he didn't need it here) and we got him settled in for the beginning of his adventure that he is experiencing along with us. Of course the power was off when he arrived and he didn't have any until Sunday evening. We got to Kadawa on Sunday morning for the first time since arriving! (We were late due to having to stop at the mechanic's on the way to have the car looked at. Seems that when it was washed the previous day, the engine was washed also and there was a lot of water in the spark plugs). Ohhhh! It was so good to be part of the worship and to meet with so many of our old friends and acquaintances. Jeremy lost count of the hands he shook - there were so many. All were so happy to meet him.
Jeremy- sweater on arm- waiting for his luggage@ "Kisumu International Airport"!
Since being at our compound internet service has been a bit erratic and that, along with being technically challenged and our busy schedule, has all contributed to not being able to update everyone until now. Jeremy is at a different location than we and he has been able to keep right on top of things on the internet and his blog.
THE HARVEST ON THE WIDOWS FARM
The maize on the 1 1/4 acres at the widows farm was harvested - in one day - on the 26th and it was piled in a storage room at the church waiting for us to "shell". It was a good harvest, although not as good as the second crop will be because it was planted in fallow ground that had no crops for many, many years. We are assured that the December crop will be really good. Additionally, there was one spot in the field that was very wet and the crop did not grow there. The field slopes gently downhill. There is one water management ditch at the top of the field, and another one will be dug - across the middle of the field - before the next crop is planted. When it rains, the ditches - approximately a metre in depth - will fill up, keeping the rain from carrying away the top soil, and from making the ground too wet in some areas. The water in the ditches will continue to irrigate the crops as it seeps down toward the river.
On this past Monday morning a large group of widows - mostly middle-aged - came to the church to take the kernels off the cobs. We arranged for a big meal for them and when we arrived (late due to big-time car trouble) there were three fires going; one in the shed cooking what looked like maize or beans, one outside cooking the meat (think it was goat) which, after being fried, would have vegetables added to make a delicious stew, and the third making chai. We're not sure what else was had. We thought we would be eating with them, but we were in a meeting with the church leaders and missed the whole wonderful meal and camaraderie. We did have traditional chai, with bread and butter at the end of our meeting. This is a mandatory refreshment for any type of lengthy meeting or when visiting with people.
However, prior to the meeting we had a wonderful time pushing the corn off the cob with our thumbs. When we arrived a group of ladies was sitting on the floor in the storage room, and the kitchen, surrounded with ears of corn, corn cobs, and a floor full of kernels. John stood by the door and Marty sat on the floor and they graciously kept tossing us ears of corn with a row or two already removed - with a knife - and then we just pushed the rows of corn off the cob with our thumbs. John and I have Glorious blisters on our thumbs - proudly worn badges of merit.
Ordinarily the maize is then spread out on tarps to dry outside, but we needed to get it to another location, so it was bagged in large sacks for transport. Then it will be spread out to dry and sacked for storage and distribution. Hesbone reckoned it to be about 7, 90Kg. bagfuls. Nothing is wasted - the cobs are used as fuel for fire. Some were used for their meal there and the rest were carefully packaged, put on their heads and taken home. It will supplement their firewood supply, which must be foraged for every day (a job usually done by girls). The stalks in the field will be plowed under to help nourish the soil for the next crop.