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.