Sunday, December 4, 2022

December! and African life

Fritz found a fun vine swing in the back yard.

 A fairly quiet week but some interesting things to see.

Monkeys made a visit to our yard this week to eat some mangos, they were less than 30 feet of the house...

Cory is not happy to have them around but it is interesting to have them surprise us like this.

We also completed an update so if you did not receive it by e-mail and would like to, please let us know.

We are preparing and counting days for Eli to come visit. Please join us in prayer as he was sick over Thanksgiving and slowly recovering. 

He also has a tight layover in Addis Ababa so we'd all appreciate travel prayers for him and us as we go to pick him up and show him a bit of the country during his three week visit. 

The rains have greened up the area and causing much plant growth. 

Looks like weeding will be a priority in the weeks to come.

Ants are an enemy of termites, video of termites building a mound and ants carrying away some of the workers.

Leaving a porch light on after rain resulted in dozens of queen termites finding their way into the house and hundreds on the porch.

They run out of energy if they don't eat during the night so most are dead or unable to walk by morning.

Termites move a lot of soil and often cause foundations to sink and walls to crack.

We dug out the front flower bed and put down some termite killer and a double layer of plastic to help keep the foundation area dry.

Then the topsoil and flowers were put back in place.

Saturday was a memorial service for a former principal of the Bible College.

The photo is preparation the day before of a sweet corn drink made by heating corn meal with water and then sugar and a bark tea are added.

Our decorations are in Haiti and Michigan!

Interesting amaryllis type lily

We are used to tropical Christmas but spring weather and flowers in December is strange.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

So Thankful...

 So many things to be thankful about this week of Thanksgiving.

Started the week with the extension of our work visas..still waiting for the approval which should come this week.

Tuesday Cory and Benson headed to immigration in Choma to check about the work visas, then did shopping. Fritz and I remained behind to work on school.

Cory bought new (to us) fruits and big mushrooms. 

Wednesday morning a bit more school completed before starting cooking for our Thanksgiving meal.

Chicken, green bean casserole, stuffing, squash corn bread and regular corn bread, crescent rolls, mash-potato soup, Chinese cabbage greens, the local favorite shima [firm corn grits] along with pumpkin and apple pie. 

Thursday about 5 we enjoyed our cooking labors having invited the three leaders and our Tonga teachers.

Two of the wives could not attend and Pastor Samson didn't make it due to a vehicle problem, but we enjoyed our time of sharing and being thankful.

I asked Agreena, our Tonga teacher what her favorite food was from her first 'American Thanksgiving'..what did she like best?  The food! All of it. 

Later we called Michigan and were able to talk to Anna, Kris' folks and a few more family.

Work in the garden and yard also continued....

Passion fruit planted by tree; 

ground worked up around the scraggly mango trees for compost and fertilization; 

kiwis and grapes planted;

 dragon fruit supports built and dragon fruit planted, 

papayas planted, planting holes prepared for squash, plants watered, and more.

Bio-char purchased at the market for $1.30 per large bag, along with more chicken wire to put around the nursery to protect the small plants from scratching chickens.

Onion and cabbage were abundant at the market, with a medium head of cabbage selling for only about 12 cents.

A pair of African paradise flycatchers built a nest just outside our kitchen window!

Saturday morning we took a couple hour hike to check out the spring flowers.

We walked past the water tank that holds the water for the campus which was over flowing.

The students completed finals this week and many have left for home for the holiday break so campus is quieter.

We will continue with our Tonga lessons and school a couple more weeks while preparing for Eli's visit!

Anna enjoyed the week in Michigan and will soon head back to California for finals before returning again to Allegan for Christmas.

A few thankfuls:

Salvation and adoption into the Lord's family along with forgiveness and redemption.

Family, friends

Internet for staying connected and learning. 

Rains, good land, trees, plants, fruits, food...

Our wonderful support team who's partnership allows us to live this adventure.

Prayer: connecting with God about concerns and to praise Him.

Being able to share our knowledge and skills with others who in turn can bless more folks.

Experiencing God's wonderful people and creation in Africa.

Staying connected with our Haitian friends.

Good health.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Busy week

 Lots of work done in the yard this week. 

Early in the week the main project was putting up cattle fence around a field so that trees can be planted at the start of the rainy season.

We continued to work on the garden, planting, burning brush, and working on bio-charcoal.

The citrus 'Orchard' received a big face-lift with tree trimming, brush cleaning up; holes dug for grapes, passionfruit and kiwi vines. 

Harvest of the young tree leaves occurred being placed by the holes for compost when planting occurs.

Second smaller holes were dug to put up tall wooden poles for trellises the vines can climb.

Taking down non-fruit trees or trees that were sickly not only allows more sunny areas for the nursery but locations to plant fruit trees.

We did take a break on Wednesday afternoon to lecture the students one last time this term [Farming economics and pulmonary diseases], we continue our Tonga classes three afternoons a week, and attended the closing chapel service Friday. 

Weeding the nursery bags planted with avocado revealed that about 15 have sprouted!

We have about 600 seeds planted from the one avocado tree near the church, enough to plant 3 or 4 acres if we get good germination.

Moringa seedlings needed to be moved to a sunnier spot.

Two hollow log bee-hives were made and placed in mango trees, and while cutting posts the guys found a hive and harvested 3 Liters of honey, some of which they shared with us. Tasty.

Brush to biochar. Biochar turned hard clay into soft black 
garden soil in Haiti. Unlike compost it lasts hundreds
of years if not eroded away (Brazil's "Terra Preta")

Old dried soybean plants were collected from the field for compost before it could be burnt in preparation for plowing the field.

Trees will be planted, but while they grow, the field can continue to be used for other crops. 

The 'early showers' did bring spring flowers and lots of big bugs! 

Didn't get a photo of the log before tin put on the ends,
only about an inch or two thick hollow log.

It is strange thinking of Thanksgiving in the Spring and seeing all the pictures of snowy Michigan while we enjoy sunny days in the 80's.

We're thankful that Anna's travels yesterday to Michigan went OK so she can celebrate a wedding and Thanksgiving with family before returning to California for finals. 

Getting the house screens repaired maybe moving up on the to-do list before mosquitoes multiply. 

Next we've invited 4 couples to share a Thanksgiving meal with us.

Cory plans to make a shopping trip prior to Thursday.

Rachel, the national secretary is working on our work permit renewal as our current ones run out on Nov. 30th. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Nothing really special about this week although perhaps a 'normal' week is special.

Sunday we enjoyed church service outside due to a large women's meeting. We started under mostly blue sky and finished under complete cloud cover with thunder. 

No rain fell until later in the week.

News out of Haiti was that fuel could be available this week as the police took back control of the fuel terminal, however the prices set by the government reportable are very expensive. 

Also some school started this week-praying that the students can continue to attend and learn. 

Our class did not happen on Wednesday as there were special meetings with visiting leaders, so we have next weeks lesson already prepared and it is the last week of classes before finals.

Closer to home: Fritz and I finished up our unit study on Russia; the garden area is now surrounded by chicken fence; over 100 poles were cut for the larger orchard fence and some holes dug; most of a big pile of brush too small for firewood was burned and the coals quickly doused with water to yield some biochar; various items planted: moringa, aloe, sweet corn, squash, cucumber, roselle, lavender-two kinds, black eye-susan vine, day lilies, 

We passed the 100 day mark in Zambia this week and dropped under 30 days for Eli's visit.

 Enjoying the cloudy days. 

Cory attended the second meeting of the agriculture committee. They worked on a GP project proposal for the needs of the agricultural work, plans for this year's work and delegation of responsibilities.

 It will start small and grow: Nursery for trees and demonstration orchard which will supply propagation material; equipment needs, and growing at least 12 acres of soybeans with one or two oxen for cultivating.

Metal fence posts cost about $11 each, wood poles provide
some students an afternoon of work at about 20 cents per post. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Siachitema Visit

 We had close to an inch of rain this week!

Our first peach from a tree in
the nursery, tiny but tasty!
Cory is impressed how the very hard ground gets very soft after rain. 

It is too early to plant but this will make field preparation much easier for the farmers.

The irrigated gardens look great.

Founder's grave and David,
one of the orphans she raised.
Saturday we drove about 3 hours away to Siachitema Mission with some of the church leaders.

It was started by a single lady in the 1930's and she ministered 56 years.

The Bible School there was moved to Jembo in '58 where there is more land.

The church, medical work and school continue.

Maintenance is a challenge but some is being done.

David's yard had many fruit trees, pomegranate left, peach right

They would like to do more agriculture on parts of
the approximately 230 acres they have but some of it
is quite gravely/rocky.


Church and part of the school

Gardens along a stream that borders the mission property

We noticed a pecan field on the way there. The owner is
 a friend of David and has 4,000 young trees, he helped set up a visit
 and we learned a bit about about local pecan farming