Friday, April 20, 2018

LIFE IN KISII (Part 3)

Besides the air that we breathe, there is nothing more indispensable to life than food and water. Probably for most people who read this post, these are seldom in question. We turn on the faucet and we expect clean water to come out, and we open the door of the refrigerator to a variety of vegetables and meats. 
 
It will not surprise you that this is not the case for the people of the community where the Log Church of Kisii is located. To correct something from a couple posts ago, I asked Joel the correct name and the spelling of this community. It is Matagaro, not Mata Oro as I remembered hearing it.  
 
Food 
 
The people there go through various times of hunger throughout the year. Many, and perhaps even most people have a small plot of ground where they can grow a garden. However, the area for the garden is so small that it cannot grow sufficient food to sustain a family. 
 
I keep thinking that it would be a good place for some teachings of gardening techniques and soil maintenance. There has been a lot that has been learned about these subjects through the years, things that have been learned through experimentation. Many of these are methods that could benefit the people of Kisii. 

Nevertheless, I have worked among people in developing countries most of my adult life, and it is also true that I have grown to have a high respect for the methods of these people. Many from the more wealthy countries look on these from developing lands as being a “simple” people, whose farming methods have not changed for hundreds of years.  

This is certainly true in a sense, but there are some additional matters to consider.
One is that the methods that these simple farmers use are methods that have worked well in their areas and in their culture. I tend to guard against assuming that the methods that we use in our big farms in the US can simply be adapted anywhere.

My first experience in working with agriculture overseas was during the “green revolution” of the 1970’s when we were attempting to do this. There were many good things that came out of the green revolution, but there were other things that was not so helpful.

That first experience of mine was with the Peace Corps in Northern India, where I saw this to be true. This first experience of mine taught me that listening is more important than talking. I could tell you many stories, but that will have to be for another time.

In Kisii, the family land has been repeatedly divided between the children for many generations, until today the tiny plot left for each one is not enough to sustain a family. This leaves the people of the agriculture community dependent on outside work. The difficulty is, there is very little work to be found.
 
There are some tea plantations, where one can be paid for picking the tea leaves. But these are not large and expansive gardens that hire many workers, and what work there is, it is very sporadic.
 
When there is no food or money to buy food, there are no food banks to go to, no community pantries of donated canned goods. There is nothing. The people simply do not eat. They stay home to conserve energy, and they go hungry. 
 
Water
 
I was a little surprised when I learned that water was also at times in short supply. I was told when I first went there that they received rain in every month of the year. Certainly, some months are dryer than others, but there are no long periods when rain does not fall.
 
But Joel informs me that getting clean water is actually quite a problem, and the people have only contaminated water to drink. I do not need to tell you what health problems that this can cause. It is like the inadequate latrine situation. The reoccurring diseases and parasites have a cumulative and cyclical effect.

 
The answer of course is to dig a well. They call them “bore holes.” Kisii is at a higher altitude, so I assumed that the bore holes would need to be quite deep, but I did not know how deep. I sent a text to Joel to ask him if he knew how far down the water table was. 
Joel responded, “Praise to God, clean water can be obtained at the deep table of 129 meters down.” 
 
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This coming Sunday on the 22nd of April,  in the sermon at the Log Church of Tripoli, Wisconsin, I am going to be sharing something that the Lord has been teaching me through this experience that he has given me will the church and orphanage in Kenya. 
 
The motto for our church: "All Are Welcome"
And YOU are welcome. We meet at a new time now - 9:30 AM. It's a one hour service.


 

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