Monday, April 21, 2014
Photos from the week 4/13/2014
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 10:11 PM PDT
This big fellow was outside under the porch light one night.
There are so many mangoes this year that large branches are braking under their weight.
When work requires it I get to drive this jeep around. It has real personality and is
fun to drive most of the time.
This Tuesday I met a guy named Ron from South Africa. He is taking two and a half years and going through a bit of every African country on mainland Africa, and parts of Europe! Starting in Cape Town 10 months ago, he hopes to end up in London in September of 2015. Oh, and he is doing it all on his bike!
Gamboula was to be his first stop in CAR, so I rode my bike down to the border, helped him get across, and rode with him to Gamboula. It was more of a rest day for him since he was only coming about 15 Kilometers, so I showed him the sights of Gamboula. Wednesday morning he was going to head further into CAR and out the southern border. After gathering reports about the last day and night, we deemed it unsafe to travel any further East or south, and planed a new route.
I rode with him for about an hour to a nearby river, before saying goodbye and returning to Gamboula. It was fun to be just a very small part of this much bigger adventure.
Ron�s Blog is fatkidonabike.com if anyone wants to follow his progress across Africa.
Photos from the week 4/6/2014
Posted: 12 Apr 2014 11:35 PM PDT
This week was the first time since arriving in Central African
Republic I have been able to leave Gamboula to visit another village.
Bapo is a few kilometers from here, and has a farming cooperative.
After seeing their fields of improved varieties of manioc, fish ponds
and fruit trees, we saw a harvest of tomatoes, and beans.
One of the healthy looking kids there had spent months in the nutrition center
with malnutrition. His family's diet now includes vegetables, beans,
There are a lot of flowers blooming these days. Pajama lilies are
quite common in the grass land, and always fun to see.
Another find was a small dark purple stinky flower in the Arum family.
We have not seen the big eatable flying termites this rainy season
yet, but the small ones have come out in force.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Photos from the week 3/30/2014
Posted: 05 Apr 2014 10:30 AM PDT
Since the rains have come, everyone is doing a lot of planting.
There are teams that go out to plant in the mornings. This team is planting a variety of peanut that is a good producer. We are multiplying it out at Somongue, so we can distribute more seed for next growing season.
Nyebe Roy is the favorite kind of bean here. Not many people have it yet, so like the peanuts, we are planting fields of it to multiply out seed.
This is a pin cushion fruit or nauclea esculenta. It is a Central African native fruit. The spikes sticking out of those little holes are the flower buds.
For the next year I will be taking care of Crew the African Gray parrot. One of the missionary couples here is heading back to the States soon for their furlough, and are letting me sit it.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Photos from the week 3/9/2014
Posted: 09 Mar 2014 09:21 AM PDT
Using the GPS feature on my phone, Google earth, machetes, and orange tape, one of this week�s projects has been marking out the boundaries of the Somongue property.
When the grass is dry, burning it is a common practice. Our Western border has a fire break during the dry season to try to keep fires out of our gardens. This week it came in handy. On the left is Somongue property protected by the fire break from the fire on the right.
It looks like the rains have come! We have had a few heavy rains within a few days of each other. It is an amazing blessing after our three month dry season. This is one of the storms as seen from my porch.
Jack fruit trees are fast growing, and tend to spring up by themselves where ever people have eaten one. The big fruit is enjoyed by everyone, and is very nutritious. These two came from one of the trees next to my house.
For those who know Asian fruits, the Durian is a large smelly fruit, that part of the population can�t stand to even be around let alone eat, and part of the population loves. It is known as the king of fruits by those who eat it because of its wonderful flavor. We have a few trees in the garden of Eden that are completely covered in flowers. I have never had the chance to see if I am one of those that can�t stand to be around it, or that loves it, but in a few months, I hope to have the opportunity to find out.
Our new meeting house/chapel/dining hall got its roof on this week. There are a few more little things to work on, and then we can start using it.
Monday, March 3, 2014
A Week With the Pygmies
Posted: 02 Mar 2014 12:46 AM PST
This was a special week at CEFA. A group of 20 Bayaka pygmies came for a week long seminar at Somongue. One of the reasons for the Somongue farm, is to provide a place to train, and give hands on experience to groups like this.
Many of the lessons happened out in the field where everyone could see and touch what was being taught.
One of the staple foods for the Bayaka is manioc. This is a field of high yield, and disease resistant manioc. The demonstration was on proper spacing and planting technique.
Knowing which side of a cutting is up is very important when you plant a field full of them.
One of the youngest of the group napping.
We drained a fish pond one morning, and the whole group came down to watch.
Looking at the fish
A eel being taken out of the pond.
The Bayaka are known for their love of honey. They go to extremes to raid wild hives to get it. So one day I got to do my first seminar on bee keeping.
Despite being rained out, we were able to do some activities inside. The smoker in particular was a point of interest to them, as they use fire to kill the bees instead of smoke to just calm or confuse them.
Friday was all about different ways to plant. Here the assignment was to plant a bed of okra.
Somongue has a few hectares of improved varieties of palm nut. This variety can have up to 13 heads of good quality nuts, compared to the 2 or 3 heads that the regular trees produce.
An important part of gardening is in knowing how to keep a nursery. Here every one took turns filling sacks with the right kind of soil, and then planting in them.
The Bayaka love to sing and dance. They showed up singing, and left singing. During one evening, they got the drum, a few buckets, and had a dance party. Because of low light, I was not able to get any photos of the dancing.
Each adult to attend was given a shovel, machete, a 100 meter string, and a file for sharpening tools.
We will see how they use these skills and ideas they have picked up this week.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Photos from the week 2/15/2014
Posted: 21 Feb 2014 10:43 AM PST
Starting Monday, all those that work at Somongue have begun coming to morning prayers. We used to meet in the mission, but not many attended. Since we started meeting out at the farm, everyone comes, to sing and hear a little devotional before starting work.
Since Roy, Aleta, and I moved out to Somongue, a small church has started at the sentry�s house. There are only about 20 people including kids, but it is a good group, and will grow I am sure. More and more people are moving to the area around the farm. This week Aleta spoke.
30 beds for the guest house and dorm buildings showed up at Somongue this week. They all got varnished, and are just waiting on the rest of the construction to be finished so they can be set up for visitors.
Every once and a while we run in to mutant pineapples. This one appears to have a few dozen pineapples all squeezed in to one. I don�t think it is a trait we want to be breeding for.
The moon has been beautiful out at Somongue. It is so bright, you can walk around out on the farm without a flashlight.
CEFA now has 9 cows! Hear Roy is checking out the pen, and feeding trough.
Just a pretty picture
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Photos from the week 2/8/2014
Posted: 09 Feb 2014 07:19 AM PST
The guest house we are building at Somongue now has doors, windows,
paint, beds and chairs. Some plumbing, land scraping, and final
touches, and we will be ready to receive guests.
These blue and black butterflies are everywhere these days.
The coffee orchard all over this area are blooming, and smelling
wonderful. Other plants are also in full bloom. This grass land shrub
is completely covered in flowers that smell really good.
I don't have a screen door on my house yet. One morning I went outside
and left the door open. When I came back this malachite kingfisher was
All over the world fuel for cooking fires is becoming more difficult
to find. I am wanting to experiment with different kinds of fuels and
stoves. This first one is a saw dust burning stove. This small can
with saw dust in it lasted two and a half hours with good heat the
Saturday morning one of our fish ponds was drained for a fish harvest.
The harvest its self was not great, but we learned a bit about what we
could do differently. In this photo Max, who takes care of the fish
ponds, is holding a large cat fish. These cat fish live in the stream
that goes by the pond. In the stream they don't get any bigger then a
few inches. In a fish pond these little cats do really well and in six
months grow to a good size. In a year they get almost double that.