Wednesday, September 17, 2014

“The only thing I grow in my garden—is weary.” — Me

Karen’s project to reintroduce orange or yellow sweet potatoes here is moving right along.  From the “Adam and Eve” pair of potatoes, she has grown about thirty smaller plants which are ready to be transplanted in the garden.  First, however, the garden had to be prepared to repel all invaders and those who would destroy or devour the sweet little plants.  We already know that the grasshoppers here will eat every bit of the little plants if they can get to them.  We also have dogs who will dig them up—why, we don’t really know, maybe a vet could explain it, but I don’t think even the dog whisperer could change that behavior.  You can see from the picture at the right that this has been an “every hand on deck” kind of project.  It also appears that the baby plants will be safe from elephants, lions, and the occasional giraffe.  I have no idea what the neighbors think, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the term “black magic” hasn’t been uttered once or twice.  Still, this could really make a huge difference here since yellow or orange sweet potatoes no longer exist here.  The white sweet potatoes that are grown, sold, and eagerly eaten here have virtually zero nutrition value while yellow or orange have tons of nutrition and taste just as sweet if not more so.  This could become a good cash crop as well as providing good food for the families growing them.  We are in one of the most fertile areas of Tanzania for agriculture and almost anything will grow here—if we can get it started.  If we don’t, it won’t be for lack of doing everything we know to make it happen.  Our Australian missionary friends have started a combination Bible College/Vocational School here in Bunda which I think is a great idea.  They are training about twelve young men (who are drinking clean, safe water thanks to one of our biosand filters) and they have just finished their first projects.  They are learning to be carpenters and have made chairs (we bought six), stools or small tables (we bought six), and some larger, coffee table size tables (we bought one).  By selling the things they make at the school, they help defray the costs of their education and by having a trade, they can start churches without needing the church to support them.  We are very proud of our Anglican guests who helped build one of the buildings at the school when they stayed with us (from Australia).  I’m even starting to say, “G’day, Mate!” and “Good on ya!” but I haven’t developed a love for rugby, so still not quite Australian.  It’s fun to make the world a better place and even more so, if your friends are doing it, too.
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