Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Veggie Tales

When I began my garden at Ciyanjano my prayer to the Lord was that He would bless us with enough veg for our family with plenty to share. (Here in Zambia the word "veg" refers to an array of green vegetables like cabbage, rape, chihuahua which is the ends of pumpkin plants, kale, chard, etc.) Well, veg season is upon us and we have been out-of-control with veg!

Thank you, God, for major kilogram-age of veg, veg, and more veg! In one morning we harvested some of our cabbage and kale. In these pictures you can see that the kitchen was swamped. I was able to pass out veg to all our Ciyanjano workers, our entire AZ team and take some over to House of Martha, the orphanage where Ethel was adopted from. And this doesn't even begin to touch on how much lettuce and chard we've had. If you have any great, cheap veg recipes feel free to post them for me and I'll give them a shot.

Monday, May 21, 2012

First Pastors' Conference for Class of '15

After spending the last year mostly on the house project and getting very little time to do much else, this weekend was just what we needed. We got to do our real jobs! ACTION Pastors College held their first conference on Saturday. All the new pastors were invited along with their wives and one elder or deacon from their church. Our assistant director and the leader of the Pastoral Leadership Development program for AZ led teaching about the vision and purpose of AZ's program. Pastor Bruce McKanna from a church in Mount Morris IL. that supports AZ in a major way also taught some sessions. Teammate Karen Singleton and with Bruce's wife Katie taught sessions with the pastors' wives as well. I was in charge of making sure the physical property was looking great and making sure all the requests and needs of the teachers were taken care of so that they could do have the things they needed to teach with out having to do any set up or tear down of chairs, PA systems, props, tables etc. Tricia organized food for the 50 guests, making tea and banana cake for the morning and making beans and helping prepare greens and nsima for our lunch break. What a great time and what was especially nice was to just be able to do our jobs here at Ciyanjano. To host and help and take care of the details behind the scenes!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Farm to Table

So I know that fresh produce right off the farm is pretty popular with Americans these days and there are all kinds of farm-to-table type initiatives. I thought I would give you a little taste of my Zambian farm-to-table life. Right now Zambians are harvesting their maize, which is used to make their staple food:  nsima. We have two growing seasons for maize, which is good because Zambians need a LOT of it. This last season I decided to try to grow some myself. At first I thought it would save us some money, but actually you need to grow a big fat farm's worth of maize to really make it worthwhile. I decided to give it a try just the same as a growing experience, so to speak.

Maybe I grew between a quarter acre and a half acre of maize... I'm not very spatially gifted. Each stalk only produces one cob! And if you want that to be a big cob you need to use a lot of expensive fertilizer. Zambians are not really into organic farming, I tell ya. Then over rainy season the rains keep your maize growing and then around March or April you bring in your crop. You can see a picture of my whole harvest. Certainly it is not enough for a Zambian family but it will last us awhile. Then you get all the kids and relatives to help you pick off the little kernels. This is tedious work which produces very sore thumbs. Lucas and Mutale Joy were kind enough to help me for about twenty minutes before they started whining. After getting your kernels, you haul it on over to a chigayo (luckily Ciyanjano has one of its own so I didn't have to go far!). A chigayo is a mill where they pulverize your maize into "mealie meal" which you can then cook into a thick porridge:  nsima, which you eat in big blobs.

Here are some pictures. I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures but it was very hot and dusty during this whole process. Our "cold" season is really just our dry and dusty season. I was very happy that I won't have to sit out in the sun to have my maize ground up for at least another couple of weeks! For those of you in the States, I'll be happy to make you a plate of nsima and this vegetable dish called visashi when we come home to visit next year. I'll be sure to pack plenty of mealie meal for you all.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Off the Grid (Back to the Grind)

So you might have noticed that after we moved into the new house we disappeared from the huckablog and have been laying low on FB (except for that recent massive upload of pics) and if we've been slow responding to an email we're sorry. One week after we moved over my parents arrived. A week after that my brother arrived and I took them down to see Victoria Falls which was amazing and WET! It was so fun to see all the Zambians there enjoying themselves so much. And getting soaked. We also spent a day and night in Chobe Park Safari. Also a great time. Saw lots of animals and ate way too much at the buffet. Amarula ice cream = wow. Tricia held down the fort back home and when we got back we threw a huge house warming party for ourselves to celebrate what God has done and invited all the Zambians involved with the building and construction, the Ciyanjano crew and number of friends, neighbors and colleagues and ACTION Zambia's board of directors. It was a nice chance for my family to meet and spend a little time with a lot of our Zambian friends. Lastly we spent the night down in Siavonga on Lake Kariba. This is really one of my favorite places in the world. And the drive there over the escarpment is so different than the trip to Livingstone so my family got to see a wide range of Zambian landscapes. Overall, a big success. We're back now and ready for a very busy season and lots and lots to do from battling bureaucracy to building toilets to hosting camps and teams and conferences. Keep an eye out for many new posts.