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.