Monday, 29 August 2011



Bottoms Up
Florence, Seline and Christine sorting the last few ears to thresh.
We have been working really hard, physically, right now - and at the end of the day we surely feel it.  We are pretty tired by the time we get home.  Often we take a shower - it's pretty grubby work - and then go out for a meal, so that Marty doesn't have to cook.  We have had a few people helping us this last week, so we made sure to have tea and bread for lunch.  That is a typical snack or lunch, and we have grown rather fond of it.  We added some bananas for dessert. Marty learned how to do the fire (everything is cooked outside on a wood fire) it's easy (making the fire).  The water for the tea came from the hand-dug well and the water is cloudy because of recent rain. Well, we definitely claimed Mark 16:18, drank our tea, and have suffered no ill effects.  We worked all week, but had to take three days off (Wed., Thurs, & Fri.) for the First Annual Youth Conference at the church.  On the Thursday, Charles - the wonderful man that overseas the land at the Widows Farm - came and got us to come see what they had been doing.  He and three ladies had continued to work even though we weren't there.  We hadn't asked or expected them to do it.  Their heart was to relieve us of the continual concern of the harvest not getting done because we weren't there.  Marty returned on Saturday morning and with Charles and the three ladies we finished getting the maize off the cobs, bagged all that was dry (after winnowing it - the old fashioned way) and now all that remains is to finish drying what was shelled that day and winnow and bag it.  Later we will spread all of it out again and add a preservative to it before bagging it in bags that hold 80 kilograms (about 175+ lbs.)  We have actually dried and bagged (temporarily) 1000 kgs (2220 lbs) and have about 360 kgs left to dry.   The last few ears were really small or misshapen and it was difficult even to do them by hand.  No problem!  Charles put them in a feed sack and if there was anything evil in that corn he beat the devil out of it with a big stick.  IT WORKED!  All of those funny cobs were clean and we added the kernels to the lot.                                      

Each day we gave the empty cobs to the people helping us - they were delighted, for they are used as fire wood.  In fact, we used them in our fire.  Rain damaged some of the maize - in that it wasn't harvested quite soon enough and if it was opened and water got in some of it got a mildew-type disease.  But that isn't wasted - they took that home and use it to feed chickens and cows.  Nothing is wasted!  Even what falls to the floor is swept up and sieved to get the dirt out.  If it is too bad it goes to the chickens.  

Seline making chai with new sufuria

We used a cooking pot and tea kettle from the church to make the tea (chai - tea with loads of milk and sugar added, all boiled together) the first day, but having worked through the process a bit, Marty realized that it is time for our own utensils - so off she went to a couple of local household suppliers in Kisumu to get things (Violet gave the name of a good shop) and with the help of the Lord, the little bit of experience she has gained, and using a few dazzling Luo words was able to find sales clerks who could advise her and show her a good selection.  In both shops it was men who helped her; they were so very helpful and seemed really pleased to give advice and see that she had the right stuff.  What fun she had - 1 huge aluminum tea pot,(about 8 or 9 liters - 10 quarts) 2 heavy-duty sufuria (spell check just went crazy - changed that word to safari), one size 23 (which can make tea for 8) and a size 27.  She also bought a dozen plastic mugs and soup bowls and a dozen spoons. A really big sufuria and 2 or 3 more sets of cups, bowls and spoons will be needed for when the land is prepared for the next crop.  Marty is determined to make the next fire; all it
Our kettle is about the size of the one in back
requires is 3 rocks (we used cinder blocks from the house) - to set the pot on - some paper, twigs and bits of wood, corn cobs, and matches.  Then, the trick is to keep pushing the sticks and corn cobs in under the pot a little at a time as it cooks.  The women are very patient and happy to show Marty how to do these domestic things.  However, the dodgy water issue has made us even more determined to get the water-harvesting portion of the farm development completed.  That way rain water is collected and there will be no problem with worries over contaminated water.  The well wasn't dug for drinking/cooking purposes, but to water the crops.  We will encourage bringing water down from the church for cooking the next time.

We went to Narok - in Maasai land - for a weekend and had an amazing time.  What wonderful people.  Not easily accepting of the Gospel, but once one person in a small village (manyatta) comes to know the Lord the rest will accept and believe through that person's changed life.  It seems to be a pattern among the Maasai, and it is often through a woman.
This zebra was rather annoyed with us for disturbing it!
The manyattas (the village compounds) are in the bush - the nearest is perhaps a mile off the highway - and zebras are roaming freely in sight, but other things are in the midst of the bush; lions, leopards, and at night, roaming elephant herds.  The Maasai know how to live amongst these creatures and how to fend them off (usually) when necessary.  An interesting situation befell the pastor who we were visiting and his wife and a couple of other people with them.  A short while ago they were ministering in the evening in the bush at the Maasai church and when they left, the driver took a wrong trail; it had rained and the vehicle got stuck in the mud.  However, a herd of elephants showed up, so the folks couldn't get out of their vehicle to push it out of the mud.  Elephants and other wild animals there pose a genuine danger and one doesn't get out of their car at night in the bush.  These elephants were not interested in going too far away. When they came too close to the car  the driver would start the engine and turn on the lights, which was enough to cause the elephants to shy away.  The engine and lights were used several times in the night; needless to say there was a whole lot of prayer going on, and no one slept.  Elephants can topple a car with no real effort.  They were rescued the next morning.

Because it is harvest season, and elephants love maize, they tend to come out early in the evening to forage the maize fields.  They have been known to ruin entire crops.  Additionally, they LOVE ugali  (oo gah lee) - a very stiff maize-meal dish (it is formed into a "cake" shape and sliced) that is eaten daily by most Kenyans, as far as we know.  Elephants will tear a house down to get to it.  So, during the harvest, because these herds are out and about at supper (tea) time rather than later, the Maasai have their main meal in the afternoon, including ugali, and then they clean up everything very carefully to remove any scent of the ugali so that by the time the elephants have come out they won't be able to smell it.

Women build the houses in the Maasai tribe.  When we arrived at one manyatta, the matriarch of the community and some other younger women were building a new house.  They are made of sticks covered with a mixture of cow dung and mud.  Marty helped tie a couple of the roof beams together.  These homes are very small

and there are lots of poles inside .  On the left rear  is a "room" where the wife and children sleep - about 3.5'X6' - on the right rear is where the husband sleeps - same size.  Between these two "rooms" is the living area with the fire in the middle (keeps them warm at night); this space is about 4'x6'.  In the right front and at a 90 degree angle to the back was an L-shaped area for a cow and baby goats.  The smoke has nowhere to go, although some goes out through the window, so the house if filled with smoke when the fire is going - of course it gets cool at night and the heat from a fire is welcomed.
The men are all at the market on Saturdays!
An acacia tree is a great place to sit to hear preaching!

The Maasai church in the background
Thank you for your love and prayer support!  Please don't stop either of them.


John and Marty

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