Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More from Pastor Nathaniel

 Hello Mr. Lonny,

Thanks so much for the great work you are doing in Kenya. Indeed you are a blessing to Africa. We shall continue to keep you in our prayers. I have had much time to see the work you are doing by visiting all of your site. Your desire to bring people to work together and develop themselves is a wonderful vision. God will bless you.

Just to let you know that that vision will be good also for Sierra Leone as there is power in togetherness. More results will come when people come together for a common goal it is easily achieved.

God bless you as I wait to hear from you.
Pastor Nathaniel



Hello Lonny,

Hope all is well these are pictures of the children at the God primary school. God bless you for praying for them it is well. The school is growing by God's grace and we are now affecting the community. God is awesome and Good - continue to pray for them and even though the challenges are great - the Lord is still doing great things. Pray for God to supply the needs of the school. Your Agricultural project is highly welcomed.

Thanks and God bless you.
Pastor Nathaniel

*Note: If you are interested in helping send Lonny to Sierra Leone to help Pastor Nathaniel, please contact us at: projects@endowedprosperity.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Driving Across Kenya for Good Quality Milking Goats


Nov, 9th, 2011
           
Patrick and I left just after 4:00 am this morning with Katembo as our driver. We only made it half way to the main road when they decided to turn back and get a different vehicle because there was a rattling noise near the rear tires. We switched into the car and headed to Taveta. We stopped in Voi, which was about half way, for fuel and breakfast. We had omelets and they had their chi tea.
The goat farm in Taveta. They have good quality Gala goats that work well in Kenya
Shortly after we left Voi our front tire went flat. We quickly changed it and were on our way again in a short time. The road to Taveta took us right through the Tsavo West Animal Reserve so we saw zebras, elephants, baboons, and a dikdik. We had just left the preserve and were on the farm about 15 km from the office when our spare tire went flat. We decided that we would have to sacrifice the spare tire and just drove slowly the rest of the way to the Eicheha Farm. Katembo drove the car into town to get the tire fixed.
Two very large bull elephants along the road in the Tsavo West Animal Reserve
Patrick and I waited for Joshua to come and take us to the goats. He came with Onyago the head of security and told us that the goats were 7 to 10 kms away and they only had a motor bike for transportation. Joshua went on ahead and got everything prepared while the rest of us walked. We could see Kilimanjaro off to the west. It was cool to be so close to the tallest mountain in Africa.

We selected three of the best male goats and 21 of the best females. Joshua brought a can of blue spray paint to mark them with. It was hard to catch them especially towards the end. Goats were running all over the place. When we finished they told us that a pickup truck could take us back. I was very happy to get the ride. I gave some candy to the workers that were helping us and to a mother and her small child that road with us. We met Katembo on the way and headed back home.

On our way home we listened to the Kenyan Parliament discuss the issues and pass laws. It was rather interesting to hear what they were discussing as compared to the hot government topics in America. Often we think that what is important to us is important to everyone. In fact I had not even considered some of the critical items that they were debating.
I was very glad to get home after such a long drive and a long day. I was also very happy to have some very good quality goats selected for the project.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Screech the Owl, a Flooded Bridge, and Basic Cook Stoves


Nov, 8th, 2011
           
It was extremely humid and very warm last night. I woke up wet with sweat several times. I look forward to a cool night so I can sleep without sweating. Even though I didn’t sleep well I have been able to work without too much problem.
Feeding time for Screech and Skype time for me with the family
 At 6:00 am I called my family on Skype to have FHE with the family. I fed Screech while I was talking with them. They thought that it was really cool that I had an owl here and wanted me to bring it home. I showed them my safari pictures and told them about our trip. They updated me on what they were doing. I love my family very much and miss being with them but I feel that I am needed here. The conditions are so desperate here for the people. The faster we get our projects going the more people we can help.
The construction crew views the damage by the heavy rains and flooding on the partially constructed dam
 It rained last night and filled the channel with water where we are building the dam up to the top of the wall. We didn't have the clay in yet and it pushed the wall over. The Kenyans didn't believe that there was enough water to push the wall over. They thought that vandals had come in the middle of the night and pushed it over. Later today it rained really hard and flooded over the wall knocking off the top two layers of bricks. When they saw this they started to believe what Kevin had been telling them about the force of the water. The bricks that had the rock wall behind them held perfectly. It will set us back several days especially if it keeps raining. On the bright side it has shown the villagers how important it is that Kevin and Shad designed the dam the way they did. It has been great to learn from them for me as well as the villagers.

With the rain coming down we decided it was a good time to do some planning for what would be planted. Tom and I stepped off the outside boundary of the property then we came back and drew it out on some paper. We will have a model plot with the whole Benson institute plan and then about 100 rotational garden plots for training the local villagers how to grow a rotational garden. The rest of the area will be used for growing different commercial and forage crops. Patrick and Edison have a good idea of what should be done to best utilize the land.

Riley has been working with a lady that has been teaching the village ladies how to build little cooking stoves. They are basically a clay ring about 12 inches tall and 15 inches in diameter. They have a pipe in one side for the smoke to leave by and a hole in the other side to put in wood or charcoal.  They cook much more efficiently and get the smoke out of the house. Currently there is no way for the smoke to leave the homes. This creates lots of respiratory problems.
The simple cooking stoves that cook more efficiently and control the smoke in the homes
 Mark, Mwanzara and the shop crew are helping us put in a solid gate into the chicken area and the garden area. It is really nice to have a shop and skilled laborers to work when you need a project done. We all get together and discuss what we want to accomplish and the best way to do it then they get it done. It is really a pleasure to work with such good people.

Tom led out in digging the fish pond behind the chicken coop. It is two meters square by a meter deep. It should hold up to 100 fish under the right conditions. Once it gets up and going it could provide a significant source of protein and if necessary revenue for the family that utilizes it.

At dusk Mark, Grace and I went down to see the progress on the dam. They had cleared out the fallen wall, bucketed out the water, built the wall back up and were starting to lay out the fence to contain the rocks. It was getting dark and there is a 60% chance of thunder showers tonight so it was decided to keep working until the liner was put in. I jumped in and helped them lay the fence down and stack rocks on top of it. Then we brought the liner in and placed it in the trench. We started piling clay furiously on top of the liner. After we had the bottom covered we piled some bricks inside, folded the liner closed and put everything away for the night. It was amazing how much was done in such a short time. I got my hands cut up a little and my shoes full of mud but it was worth helping make good progress on the dam.

Monday, November 7, 2011

An African Safari at the Tsavo East National Park


Nov, 7th, 2011
Bret arranged for Johnson, http://ajtoursandsafaris.com/ , to take us on a safari at the east Tsavo national park a couple hours north of us. We arrived at the park a little before noon and got the hat lecture by our park hat salesman. He informed me that I couldn’t wear my ball cap because it would blow off and could hurt the animals. He handed me a safari hat and said you can use this. I set it on the seat next to me. He told us to keep the windows closed and not feed the animals. Then he turned to me and asked if I would be paying in dollars or Kenyan shillings for the hat. I gave it back to him and said that I didn’t need it. Tom commented that he would make a good used car salesman.
On safari at Tsavo National Park
 Shee drove us through the park pointing out animals and stopping for us to get pictures. The terrain was dry and rugged. It reminded me of the Pocatello Valley range where we ran our cattle except instead of sage brush there were thorn bushes. We saw many types of antelope, zebras, elephants, lions, cape buffalo, baboons, lizards, crocodiles, hippos, and many other animals.
A herd of elephants crossing the road


The giraffe is very tall close up 


Zebras grazing on the plains


Our Safari driver 



Hippos floating in the river. We were glad that they emerged for the picture,

We stayed overnight at the Voi lodge and enjoyed three relatively nice buffet meals. The accommodations were nice although the beds were very firm. It was so nice to take a real shower that I took one before bed and one when I woke up. The lodge is set up on a hillside overlooking a couple of watering holes. There is a little walk way that goes down into a tunnel that looks right out onto the watering holes. There was an elephant and a water buck at the watering hole but nothing else. It would have been awesome if there had been a lot of animals there.

I helped Bret feed Screech again. We tried to feed him roaches. He didn't like them as well as the chicken but he would eat them.

When we finished with the days work we sat around the table and played a few card games with the group. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Day of Rest


Nov, 6th, 2011
           
 I was reading the Sunday school lesson today and had a different perspective of the meaning of the scriptures. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he talks about the saints being “ like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind … in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” I thought of how we as American’s were compared to some of the poorer populations of the world. I think the phrase ignorance is bliss probably best describes the position of most people. I cannot fit into that category anymore. The burden of knowing of the poverty of these wonderful people inspires we to work to help them improve their lives.

Kevin taking pictures of some of the village children
Today was the day of rest so we rested from our labors.




Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mosqitoes, a 16 Cow Wedding, The Shower, and Laundry

Nov 5th, 2011
Some mosquitoes found their way inside my netting last night and identified the areas of my body that didn’t have repellent. I woke up with bites on the bottom of my feet, my thumb, and my lip. Tonight I will make sure that I am covered completely and get the mosquito net tighter.
The men's dorm - Wall to wall bunk beds covered with mosquito netting

Mark, Tom and I worked on the goat pen for a couple of hours. It was really hot today so my clothes were soaked with sweat. After an hour we broke to go get sun screen on. The sun really beats down on you here and the rain yesterday contributed to make it humid as well.


Me, Eddison, Tom, Patrick and some school boys with the goat pen
The coconut wood that we are using for the pen is an interesting wood to work with. When it is wet it is kind of soft but when it dries it is like a rock. Trying to saw through it is a joke whether it is green or dry. The wood seems to swell around the saw blade either way making it almost impossible to saw. Mark blew a fuse when he was cutting it with the skill saw.
The Happy Couple on Their Wedding Day
At noon we broke from work and drove to Gona where Chikia’s sister was getting married. Bret is her adopted father so he negotiated with the family for her dowry. She is a 16 cow plus wife. The wedding was under a bowery made up of poles with flour sacks stretch across them. When Bret stood up to talk his head bumped on the poles. Several family members gave them advice and then people came forward and gave them gifts. The majority of the gifts were people handing them money. They broke out the food and passed around large trays of rice cooked with meat. The people eat by making a rice ball and placing it in their mouth. They didn’t bring us any food. They have been around Americans enough to know that we would not see that as appetizing. Chikia did come around with sodas for all of us.


The Wedding dance. The newly wed couple starts then others join in.
They had loud music playing much of the time and one of the ladies really danced around. Bret and Kevin went and videoed her dancing then danced a little with her. I will have to get a link to the video when it gets posted on the Koins for Kenya website. It should go viral;)

We were starving when we got back to the KCC so we pulled out some left over spaghetti noodles and each did our own thing with them. We all ate them cold with ketchup and other stuff put on to give it flavor. Being here in Kenya and working hard this morning made me really appreciate cold spaghetti noodles.

I worked on the hay storage facility on the north side of the goat pen after lunch. Edwin and Antone, a couple of twelve year old boys, came over to watch me work. Soon they joined in and were doing the work. They picked up on the tools quickly and were a good help. Edwin asked me if the book that I had in my pocket was my bible.  I told him that it wasn’t and pulled out my iphone and said this is my bible. I asked him his favorite book of scripture and he told me Psalms. I then showed him Psalms and asked him his favorite passage. He said the Lord is my Shepherd so I flipped to the 23rd psalm and read it with him. It was a neat experience.


One of the shower stalls: the ledge in the upper right corner is for  toiletries and soap, the bench  keeps your things from getting too wet, the drain in the back takes the water to the garden for irrigation.
This evening I went to the kitchen to get my hot water for my shower. Ester gave me a pitcher full and I went outside to the faucet to fill the bucket with cool water. It is an interesting experience to shower using a bucket and a measuring cup but after sweating all day it felt awesome. I got another bucket of water and did my laundry. It is always a good conversation starter when we do our laundry. Here laundry is definitely women’s work. Emily and Ester will do it for us but they have been very busy with everyone here so I just did it myself. The plunger thing worked well for agitating the clothes then I wrung them out and hung them on the line.
Bret’s wife, Ingrid, is in Vegas at going to the Eagles concert tonight so Riley pulled up some Eagles songs and we sat on the veranda singing songs. It was almost as good as a concert. Everyone played songs from their ipods and ipads. It was a lot of fun.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Feeding Screech and Meeting Tom Rasmussen (SRA)


Nov. 4th, 2011

I tossed and turned all night long last night so I am a little tired today. The timber cutting and building that I did were taxing physically so I am stiff and sore today also. Patrick actually thinks that I am a hard worker.

I helped Bret feed Screech the owl a couple of times today. Yesterday we had to force feed it but today it actually took the meat out of Bret’s fingers. Now the question is, what is Bret going to do with it. I think that Anthony might take it home as a pet. It is a bad omen to have an owl hoot by your house so if it is left here it will probably be killed.
Tom and Patrick with me discussing the milking goat project in front of our partially constructed goat pen
Tom Rasmussen from The Institute for Self Reliant Agriculture (SRA) came in last night. Patrick and I showed him around the SRA garden and talked to him about the progress we were making with the goat pens. He was impressed with the work that they had done. They have the four small garden plots that will rotate in and out of production, the two nursery areas, and a larger commercial area where they have been transplanting the small plants from the nursery.
Patrick explaining the chicken to garden process to Tom. The hen house is in the background and the  garden that receives the chicken fertilizer is in the fore ground. A village women waters the garden by hand.
They have a dozen chickens that are now laying eggs. Patrick has a box with charcoal lining it and a cloth sack around the outside of it. He places the eggs in it and wets the sack with water. This keeps the eggs cool and holds them in a suspended state until he is ready to have a hen incubate them. I had never heard of such a thing.
Makanzu at his little vegetable shop in Mnzenyeni. With the SRA/Koins gardens the village will soon grow all of their own vegetables.
We stopped and talked with Makanzu, who has the small vegetable shop. He buys his tomatoes from Mombasa which is over an hour away. We explained to him that he could grow his own with Edison’s help and he wouldn’t have to buy them. He liked that idea. It is interesting how much of the people’s food here comes from far away when they have the opportunity to raise it right here locally. The main crop that they grow is corn. This SRA project will make a huge difference in the health of the villagers.
Shad explains the dam building process to Tom
The digging is almost complete at the dam. Yesterday Bret gave the workers a pep talk and explained to them that he was paying them to help themselves because they would be the ones using the water. Between that and the forecast for rain the crew worked very hard today. At noon the rain came down hard for almost an hour. The bank had been built on the upstream side of the dam so the water did not rush into the hole but it is seeping in. The crew was able to complete most of the digging today so that they can start construction tomorrow if the liner comes in. We were praying that the rain would be held off until we could finish the project.

I had a good talk with Tom about SRA. They are based on the work of the Benson Institute, helping to teach self relaince in the rural areas. They have only been running for a little over a year but they are making great progress. They have a very good model for helping the people to improve their diets and their health by eating a balanced diet of the locally available vegetables supplemented with eggs and chicken.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Building Our Goat Pen From Local Materials, Screech - the Owl



Nov 3rd, 2011 Anthony arranged for us to work with Charima, the local Paul Bunyan, to go get wood for our goat pen. We went down to the river and cut down a 40’ palm tree that was falling into the river next to the dam site.


Charima, our one man lumber jack and sawmill
Charima pulled out his tape measure and oil line, for making a straight line, and we went to cutting. We ended up with 10- 4x4s, 10- 2x4s, and a lot of miscellaneous pieces. 


The sawmill making 4' X4' 

They told me that the top eight feet of the tree were not good for lumber so I had them cut it down the middle and made two bench seats out of it. The wood was very heavy so we decided to wait for the tractor and wagon to come down with a load of rocks so we could put the wood in it for a back haul up to the KCC. While I was waiting for the tractor I had Shad take a picture of me on the bench with the wood in front of me. A couple of children were watching so I had them come over and sit by me for the picture. My pants were in the wash so I was in shorts.


Our new bench and the lumber from one tree
I was back at the KCC chugging down water when Malau came by with the tractor and trailer. I asked if he would help us and he said “You bet, do you want to drive the tractor?”
I quickly obliged and jumped into the driver’s seat. I started to push the throttle forward and he told me not to move it so I started easing out the clutch and the engine died. Then he pointed out the foot throttle and said use that. From then on it was pretty smooth (my driving not the road). We unloaded the rocks in record time then through the wood in and hauled it up to the KCC for the goat pen.

The KCC tractor and trailer hauled our wood back to the KCC
We started the goat pen after lunch and had the main structure up by dinner. Mark helped Patrick, Edison, and two others put it together. The coconut wood is easy to nail through but is extremely hard to saw and all we had was a couple of little hand saws and a machete. The machete actually worked pretty well. The pen is an eight foot by eight foot structure two feet above the ground. We are attaching a four foot area on the side for storing grass to feed during the dry season. We should come close to finishing it by tomorrow and then we will decide about getting goats.


Patrick, Mark and Eddison building the goat pen
It is hot and humid here so when you are working hard the sweat pours off you. I drink water all day long trying to stay hydrated. I really need some type of electrolytes to go with it. The Kenyans are more accustomed to the heat and do better working in it.
           
A local school boy tried to sell me a baby owl
While I was working on the pen a boy came up to me with a baby owl and asked if I wanted to buy it from him. I declined but took a picture of them. A little while later Bret came by with the owl which he had purchased from the boy for 60 shillings ($0.60).  We got some chicken from dinner and Bret fed it to it while I held it. We were able to get a couple of small pieces down it by breaking off very small pieces and placing them in its mouth. The Kenyans thought that we were crazy. We probably are.


Screech eating his dinner


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Brick Making, the Dam Site, and the Kitchen Crew

Nov 2nd, 2011
We had two more people join our group last night from WHO lives.org, ( http://wholives.org/) . They are working on manual well drilling equipment. If all works well they will employ the BT Workshop to build these drills to be used around the area and on into other countries. These will allow people in rural areas to drill wells with human power. It will also bring more jobs to this area.
            
I went over to the workshop to have some concrete blocks built for the base of our goat pen. I suggested that we use the block making machine and just put some small blocks in to hold the shape. I was voted out and they went and got a small mold for making single bricks. They filled it with concrete and put a post in it to hold the post shape while it was drying. They then had to wait about half an hour before doing the second one. I went to get a drink while we were waiting for the first to dry and mentioned to Bret that I had been out voted on our approach to making the bricks. He said to just go do it my way. While they were doing the second brick I went over to the crew making the bricks and made two bricks the way I had suggested. It took us a few minutes longer than the normal bricks as we figured out how to fit the wood blocks into the mold but we finished our two quicker that they did one. This afternoon I went back over to look at the bricks. Mine are much better than theirs. Sometimes it is good to listen to their ideas but sometimes it is better to just do it the right way even if they don’t agree.



            The progress on the dam was slowed down considerably today by water that is running into the hole where they are digging. They brought in another crew to bucket the water out of the river bottom up steam for the dam site. The diggers are now shoveling out mud so it is harder and slower work. If we were to get a large rain shower now the project would be set back several days as we would have to dig the whole bottom out again. We are praying for clear weather for at least a couple of days so that we can get the footings in. If the base is set then it would not be as big of a problem if there was rain.
          The local schools have come to help out. The children are carrying rocks from the river bed down below to be used as part of the dam. This is one of the keys to Koins for Kenya's success, they utilize the local people and materials for their projects so that the locals feel ownership in the projects that are finished. When people have ownership then they take care of what they have built. If it is just built in their village without their involvement they do not feel any responsibility to care for the project.

The local school children carry the rocks and pile them near the dam site. Shad oversees the digging.



            Making the bricks was hard work out in the hot sun. The bricks are 18 inches long by 9 inches both wide and tall. They probably weight over 100 lbs. The concrete is mixed in a mixer then dumped on the ground next to the mold. Concrete is then shoveled into the mold by two men and pounded down into tight bricks by two others with wooden plungers. The top is then slammed down multiple times to settle the concrete. The bottom of the mold is then pushed up lifting the bricks out of the mold. The bricks are then carried to a drying area not far away.




            After a long hot day I was ready to get clean. I went to the kitchen to get a little hot water to add to the bucket of tap water. I carried the bucket into the shower stall where I took off my sweaty clothes and poured the refreshing water over my head. It felt so good to be somewhat clean again.
            I decided that I should wash my clothes so I got another bucket of water sprinkler in a little soap and started plunging with the washing plunger. The water turned brown quickly and I had to rinse m clothes twice to get them clean. I carried them over to the clothes line to hang up to dry. It sure makes me appreciate my washing machine and dryer at home.
        
Emily and Ester our cooks

The Koins compound kitchen


    Rachel and Grace are helping Emily and Ester cook so we will have sugar cookies as well as spaghetti and meat balls. I am sure that Emily appreciates the help and the American cooking lessons also. This morning Emily taught me how to make chipati which are very similar to flour tortillas.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Designing a Goat Milking Program

I didn’t sleep well last night. I just couldn’t drift off to sleep then I awoke easily when I did sleep.  Any little sound seemed amplified. I am not sure if it had anything to do with the mefloquin or if it was a jet lag issue. When I woke up at 7:00 I felt ok but not well rested. Everyone else was up and going so I hurried to shower and get going.


I spent most of the day designing the goat plans with Patrick and Edison. We are designing one smaller elevated pen between the KCC and the dispensary. We will have about five goats in it that will produce milk for the mothers that have aids and can’t nurse their babies or the babies that have lost their mothers. We are using all local materials to build the pen so that the villagers will see that they can do the same thing.




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