Friday, 23 August 2013



The Marquee (you can see a few of the new
 trees we've planted along the drainage ditch)
John has had it on his heart to bless the people who volunteer on The Widows' Farm.  They are mostly younger widows, plus Joel, who "supervises" the women.  John, Johnfred, Charles and Peter planned the whole thing.  They did such a great job!  Planned the menu - goat (later sheep, for we found that the older widows will not eat goat), sukuma wiki (kale), rice, ugali (aka African Cake - very stiff maize (corn) meal used in the place of bread, soda (pop), and tea!  They rented a marquee (tent) filled it with chairs, organized 4 women to do all of the preparation (an unbelievable feat) and even dug a temporary "convenience station".  The women cooked the meal for 28 on three wood fires.

The Temporary Convenience Station
(made with branches and sheets)
The ladies doing the preparation showed up about 6 AM.  One of the guys slaughtered the sheep (WE WERE NOT THERE).  The men did the initial butchering and then the women did the rest.  We saw parts and bits and pieces that we didn't know existed and certainly didn't know were eaten.

We arrived about 10:30 and there were a handful of widows (and a couple of children) in the marquee. (We found out later that they didn't have any idea that they had been invited to a banquet.  They just thought they were coming to some sort of meeting.  As usual, whenever they are called together for a meeting they came in their best clothes.) After we greeted them all Joel, Peter, Charles and Johnfred took us in to "see" the sheep's head and hide.  An aside to the ladies reading this:  Men are the same everywhere.  These guys just delighted in watching and hearing Marty's reaction to this display!  She was pretty cool about it (she thinks) ! Asked what they were going to do with the head they said they would eat it.  And the next day Johnfred let us know that Peter was busy preparing the head for his and Charles' lunch. He explained a bit of how they go about preparing it.  Nothing you want to know about!!!  Asked what on earth they eat from the head - we were told that the tongue is a special delicacy and the cheeks and neck (we didn't ask about the brain).  There are a lot of photos for this newsletter, but a whole lot that you won't be seeing!

While waiting for the meal to be prepared the women began to sing in the tent.  Then John suggested Marty take them to the prayer chapel.  So, she stopped their singing and explained that we were all going to the chapel to sing.  Well, that got them pretty excited and the next thing we knew the women and men (Charles, Johnfred, Joel, Joash [the night watchman] and Peter) were all in a group doing a traditional Luo dance and singing all the way up the farm and to the chapel.  What a thing to watch and be part of - just wonderful!!  We stayed there awhile and sang a lot and then danced all the way back to the tent for our meal. 
Traditional Dancing and Singing
on the Way to the Prayer Chapel

Singing and Dancing in the Prayer Chapel
Apparently sheep are much like chickens in terms of being eaten, in that there is NOTHING wasted.  The blood is cooked with some of the offal and onions and tomatoes.  It cooks up into a dark brown affair that resembles a wurst that hasn't been put in a casing.  They were very gracious in that they didn't offer John and Marty any of it, but very discreetly gave it to the others.  The rest of the organs, the tail and intestines (all cleaned very, very well) were chopped in bite-sized bits and fried, well done, in oil with seasonings.  This was served to us and we ate it - it really was pretty tasty. The whole meal was wonderful!  Our friends are so gracious and sensitive to us, and they know we love them and try to be sensitive to the culture here.  We never want to offend them.  The Lord really and truly does give "eating grace"!  (There are probably many of you reading this who were raised in the country and slaughtering and butchering were [or are] part of normal life for you and you are scratching your head in wonder at us or are laughing your heads off.) Although, Johnfred told us that he would have thrown the blood away.  
Making Ugali and Sukuma Wiki

Sheep Stew, Fried Bits and Pieces,
Sukuma Wiki,Rice, and Ugali
Marty wasn't part of the initial planning process because she had knocked 8/10 of a gallon of paint off the top of a ladder in the house and was cleaning it all up, so she couldn't be involved.  The paint story will show up in another place.  Don't ask!!!! But, before the party she did go out and get more plates, cups and spoons so that there would be enough for however many came. She also found out from the cooks what other kitchen items/utensils would be handy to have for the farm for future events.

The Chief came and got really involved in the festivities.  He told us several very interesting things that we didn't know.  He said it is tribal tradition that to slaughter a sheep and have a meal like that is the way they bless the land.  Also, a marquee is usually only set up for funerals or, sometimes, weddings.  He said the folks there had never been treated to a tent nor a banquet like that.  It was an extremely rare event.  

The Children in the Field Behind the House
Next to the farm is a large field where people graze their cattle.  School is out for a few weeks and there were 9 or 10 children herding the cattle.  They kept gathering around the fence near the festivities (and cooking) to watch what was going on.  They know that Marty always has whistle lollypops and often there will be two or three stop by in any given day and quietly stand until she notices them - but never this many.  They all got their sweets - twice - and then the ladies who were cooking made sure the children all received a meal after the banquet was served.  God is good!  He saw to it that there was enough to feed the children!  

Several folks in America gave us money to buy solar lanterns to give out here in Kadawa. After the meal John and the chief showed the women the lamps and explained how they work, and then told them that they were being given the lanterns in appreciation for their hard work.  Never, ever would we have expected the reaction from those ladies.  They literally jumped up and down and began dancing and singing!  Even the old, old ladies were dancing!  An added bonus to having these lamps is the fact that they will no longer need to buy paraffin (kerosene) and tin-can lanterns.  They seldom can afford more than a few tablespoons of paraffin at a time and those tin lanterns hardly give off any light.  Oh my what a wondrous celebration it was and we were just totally overjoyed by witnessing it all.  Each woman was called by name and came up to get her lantern and every other woman cheered enthusiastically each time one went up - just as happy for each other as themselves.

Response to News of Lanterns
Old Teresia and Charles Dancing

Then lanterns were given out to all the staff and those men were every bit as excited as the women.  Marty took the chief on a tour of the farm and when they got back it looked like a small field of orange mushrooms had spring up.  The ladies had all put their new solar lanterns outside to charge in the sun!

Lanterns Charging in the Sun (orange objects)

We were able to get the tractor in and plow our field and over the past three or four days women and children have been preparing the soil, planting and fertilizing.  Yes, we said children.  It has taken awhile for the old widows to understand that none of the crops grown on the farm are consumed, used, or sold by us for our own personal use.  We didn't realize that was there perception.  Now they know it all goes to or for them and so even though they can't come work some of them are sending grandchildren to work on their behalf.  
Little Boy with His Tool, Preparing Soil for Seeds
(There on Behalf of His Grandmother)
What a wonderful, glorious day!  We are told that nothing had ever happened like that in the village and that it will be talked about for a long, long time!  A wonderful time was had by all. John and Marty possibly had more fun than any of them.  THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE THE PARTY AND THE LANTERNS POSSIBLE.  


John & Marty

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