Friday, November 28, 2014
Introducing Jack fruit!
Posted: 26 Nov 2014 03:54 AM PST
The introduction of Jack fruit has been very successful in Central African Republic. It is both a fast growing tree, and produces a lot of fruit. Since everyone loves to eat the fruit, and they grow just about anywhere they are planted, it is common to see jack fruit trees in villages and people's gardens in and around Gamboula. Roy has been working for years to promote many varieties of jack fruit, and while I was there I was able to help with this.
I filmed this little clip talking about jack fruit in CAR while I was there, but did not have fast enough internet to upload it. Now that I am back in the States, I have been able to do that.
One day I harvested 16 fruit from the tree out side my house! Lucky for me I was able to find a few friends to help me eat them.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Where CAR lays on the HDI
Posted: 20 Oct 2014 08:10 AM PDT
The Human Development Index (HDI) is an index that "is a summary measure of average achievement in Key dimensions of Human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living." It basically measures people's ability to develop given their current conditions and standards of living. Countries with high HDI are places like the United States, Western Europe, and some Asian countries. Medium HDI are countries that are doing ok for themselves, but are not doing as well as high HDI ones. Low HDI countries are places where people are living close or in poverty, have poor health care, poor education, and poor life expectancy. Their living conditions do not promote development.
Graph from http://hdr.undp.org
Many countries are rising on this scale as they develop. Many countries in Africa are near the bottom, but are still rising. In the past 30 years CAR has ever so slowly been climbing. In 2013 when there was the coup the country began its plummet to last place on the HDI. Although the 2014 numbers are not in yet, 2014 has been a worse year for CAR then 2013. According to this graph Niger is at the bottom, with CAR close behind. I have no doubt that CAR is in last place now.
The United Nations is working with the transitional government to stabilize the country, and help it begin its climb again. There are, however, multiple rebel movements that are hindering this work. Getting to even where it was before 2013 on the HDI will take many years. Keep praying for the country of CAR, for the fighting to stop, for the people that are there to be able to help, and for the country to begin to right itself.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Saying goodbye to Gamboula.
Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:45 AM PDT
This past weekend, I was able to make one last trip back to Gamboula. I spent a total of 3 days there packing a few personal things, handing over my responsibilities and saying goodbye to the farm and friends. It was way too short a time, but I am very thankful for it.
One of the things I had to do was hand over all my responsibilities. I gave crash courses in internet upkeep, Rabbit raising, Bee keeping, and how to use computers. Since I had not been expecting to hand things over for another few months, I had not really trained people in everything yet.
I spent an entire morning with Jeremy and Richard, working with the rabbit herd - giving medicine, learning about managing, and talking about foods. One of the does gave birth that morning, bringing the number of rabbits up to 21.
Monday afternoon was with Alexander and Placid. There were a bunch of specific tasks they had never seen before and that we needed to do anyways, so we had some good hands-on experience. The three weeks that I was away this time, 2 new swarms moved in to some empty hives I had set out. There are now a total of 9 hives with bees!
I was at Gamboula over a Sunday and was able to attend one last service before I left.
Maylay apples are one of the juiciest, sweetest fruit in Eden. I hit the season just right and was able to get one last taste..
Dingos are large crickets that have a really distinct sound. There are not that many in our part of CAR because the soil is so hard. One night I heard the sound a long ways off and was able to track it down. This is my favorite insect to eat, but only comes out for a few weeks during the year.
My last evening I was able to take time to run around the farm, and see all the fields one last time.
Our multipurpose building. Because of rain, and other things, I was unable to attend morning chapel in this building with all the staff and workers.
There are still mounds of beans coming off the farm for the seed distribution project.
My house out at the farm.
The cocoa trees are loaded this year. Last year there were only a few fruit here and there, but this year the 4 year-old trees are yielding a lot.
The chicken house
The Cola nut trees have fruit on them too. This a a big cash crop in the area.
With all the rain, the cover crops have taken off all over the farm.
The director saw a strange fruit in the forest he wanted to show me. I was able to climb the tree to get it, and it turned out to be a wild cola.
The cola fruit
The weather map from one of the days. There was a lot of rain before and while I was at Gamboula. As a result I was not able to take my motorcycle out for one last spin.
On our way back from CAR, our four-wheel drive land cruiser got bogged down in the mud. With the help of some young guys who showed up after we had been digging for a while, we were able to get free.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Photos from the week 9/28/2014
Posted: 28 Sep 2014 03:19 AM PDT
We have been getting ton of rain. In the last week the fish ponds, streams and roads all flooded. The truck even got stuck right on the farm.
I had to give the whole rabbit herd medicine for mites this week. The first step was to find their weights. Surprisingly they all cooperated when they had to be weighed.
I believe this is a mature Goliath ant lion. The larva stage of some ant lions is the thing that makes inverted cones in the ground that trap ants. When they grow up they get wings.
These are variegated plantains. Both the leaves of the plant and the fruit have white stripes in them.
Nonedible Ornamental Banana.
Besides all the rain we have been getting, there are also tons of flowers around.
Roy has planted bunches of Heliconias around. These bright flowers attract a few kinds of shiny sun birds.
These flowers are the first blooms on a bush I planted outside my house. The flowers have a really odd structure compared to other flowers, and have a really nice smell.
Under my outside faucet I planted a bunch of colors of Balsam. They are all in full bloom this week.
These little guys are a native wild Hibiscus. They are really small, and only bloom once a year.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Photos from the week 9/14/2014
Posted: 15 Sep 2014 08:37 AM PDT
Our multipurpose building is done! We now have morning devotions in it, and have been working on landscaping around it. Here is a beautiful double rainbow behind it.
The Garden of Eden has over three hundred different kinds of trees in it. Some of these trees have never fruited because of climate, age, or both. 16 years after Roy planted this tree, this is the first fruit from a type of Cola.
The Graduation for the Gamboula nursing school was this weekend. 16 nurses graduated from their three year program. After receiving their diplomas all the pastors who had come for the graduation gathered around and prayed for them.
Somongue now has two young Dwarf cows. This small breed only gets to be about waist high, but are resistant to a lot of the problems the bigger cows around here get. The hope is to train them to pull a plow.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Photos from the week 9/7/2014
Posted: 08 Sep 2014 07:38 AM PDT
Since we don't have banks, grocery stores, or hardware places, and we were running low in all the things you can find in them, Danforths and I had to go to Yaoundé, Cameroon, for supplies. Among other things, we got a replacement water pump for the one the lightning blew up.
There are two major camps for Central African refugees along the road to Yaoundé. This one stretches two kilometers!
One day while planting trees at the international school in Yaoundé, I found a whip scorpion. Definitely one of the coolest bugs I have seen.
During the week I was gone two swarms of bees moved in to some empty grass hives I had put in some trees. There is a plastic plate with a hole in the center, and the bees use that as the entrance. The rest is grass.
It must be swarm season because this morning I found and captured another swarm. This makes three new hives in the last week!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Photos from the week 8/17/2014
Posted: 17 Aug 2014 07:35 AM PDT
Last week was the first time Roy and I have been able to get out and go do a seminar with some of our cooperatives. We went east last and this week we went south. 8 of our cooperatives meet up at a town called Dede for a seminar on fruit trees. Despite getting stuck in the mud, and it raining a bunch during the day, we had a great turn out (about 85) and a fun time.
The truck got stuck in the mud coming off the ferry. After about an hour we were able to free it.
A group shot after the practical part of the seminar where we planted fruit trees.
This week we had lightning strike our generator house at Somongue. Thankfully the generator seems to be ok, so work can continue at the garage. The bad news is that despite grounding rods and breakers, it blew up our electrical and water systems including; large inverter, battery bank, and water pump. Roy and I spent a day rewiring our houses with a whole new 12 volt system that is specific to each house. At this point neither the farm nor our two houses have water. This is the latest in a series of electrical setbacks/frustrations we have had during the last year.
One of the 6 exploded batteries.
The same storm that brought the lighting that hit the farm also brought hail. A rare sight in these parts.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Photos from the week 8/10/2014
Posted: 10 Aug 2014 12:56 AM PDT
One of my does gave birth to 9 babies! Today almost all of them have opened their eyes.
Another army ant nest went up in flames this week. There are still scouting parties that are paying visits to Danforths and me, so there might still be another nest somewhere.
Before the flames discovered a chamber full of gas within the ant nest.
One of the explosions when the fire made it to a chamber.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Photos from the week 8/3/2014
Posted: 02 Aug 2014 12:04 PM PDT
This week Roy and I had our first opportunity to go do a seminar at a village. Three cooperatives came together to learn about fruit trees.
After theory, we went out in the field and planted 19 different kinds of fruit trees in one of the cooperatives fields.
I found the army ant nest that has been sending waves of soldiers to invade Danforths� and my house. Roy and I dug into the nest, poured gasoline into a few of the tunnels and lit them on fire. The gas must have gotten all the way into the main chamber, because there were a few nice explosions. I went back later in the day and dug into the center of their mound, and found a huge hole about a meter deep and wide.
Roy pouring gas down one of the army ant holes.
Four fires going, one at each major entrance. From time to time there would be an explosion and a big puff of fire would fly out of one or more of these holes. I was unable to get a photo of that though.
It looks like it is that time of year again. Mangosteens and Rambutans.