Gardens and The Ability Of Others

Greetings from Zambia. We just got back from church today and we had an amazing time with God. For the last two weeks the youth have been practicing the song Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). We usually get around 12 to 15 girls to come out to learn the song and try their hand at an instrument. The only issue was getting to the church this morning. It was about 35 degrees and the trek to the church was about a 45 minute walk. As we walked, the sweat was pouring down our faces and Evan kept saying “the Mzungus are melting like vanilla ice cream”. Everyone thought that was funny except us. Ok, we found it mildly entertaining.

Yesterday was our tuck shop party wind up. The girls in the tuck shop have given many hours to making the tuck shop a success. Now that it has been officially handed over to them and they received their new loan from VOH, we decided to celebrate. We put on a barbecue and had a pool party at the Methodist New Life Center. The girls had a blast and so did we but unfortunately we had too much fun in the sun and now Evan’s whole top half is beat red and Amber’s legs are like a lobster.  We are both walking around the house trying not to let the clothing rub up against our burnt bodies. Well, we deserve it, that is what you get when you are in the sun for 5 hours during the hot season and you forget to put sun screen on. Well let’s talk about Gardens and God’s Glory.

Over the past four months, Evan has been growing a garden. It has created quite a stir with some of the other houses around us. The first trial run was trying to grow the vegetables by seed. We first planted water melons, onions, Swiss chard (spinach), tomatoes and parsley. Evan did grow up in a greenhouse but the only thing he remembered was growing flowers, mixing peat moss, packing plastic trays and having a consistent water supply whenever needed.  This is a totally different ball game. This is growing outside, with a limited water supply, unfertile soil and we can’t forget the blazing sun. We hired one of the older guys to help water the garden, mix the soil every few days and give the vegetables a heavy dose of chicken manure.  We thought all was well but after two months of growing the only thing that looked successful was the Swiss chard. The onions looked dreadful, the watermelons didn’t even germinate and the tomatoes looked like they were waiting for Jesus’ Return before they would poke their head out of the ground.

So, we stated over. We tore up the ground in every area except the Swiss chard and created large mounds of dirt around each tomato plant so that there would be a concentration of water around the base of the plant. The director of VOH was watching this whole process and told Evan that he is giving the older guys a great example of perseverance. Throughout this growing endeavor many of the teens have been coming around the garden and heckling the growing process.  In which Evan would respond “well if you can do it better, go and start a garden.” We would then see them trudging off to a plot land and a week later they would have a garden planted. We are not sure what our teaching is called but it works well. Maybe we will call it “Empowerment through One – Upness”.

Now that the garden is starting to produce eatable vegetables we have run in to a problem. What will we do with all of this food? At first we thought that giving it away to houses in need would be a great plan but that seem to fall into utter ruin. It all started when Evan gave the first bundle of Swiss chard to one of the youth girls and not even five minutes later he had a dozen teenagers in his back yard demanding free vegetables from the garden. The situation got downright hostile and just before Evan was overcome by teenagers He yelled out “ALL RIGHT NOTHING IS FOR FREE, EVERYONE MUST PAY IF THEY WANT SOME VEGETABLES!” Surprisingly, everyone agreed this was a great plan and some even pulled out money and bought Swiss chard off of us. After the conflict, we were reminded of many situations where we were giving out different prizes and popcorn for free and a similar conflict arose. Which reminded us that in every humans’ heart there is a desire to preserve their own dignity.

God has been reminding us that no matter what country we are in He has given people the capacity and ability of doing better.  While passing one of the local compounds a Zambian pastor was pointing out the poor conditions of some of the houses. He proceeded to complain about the condition that the people were choosing to live in.  Not fully understand what he meant, we tried to defend the people by saying that their house are in ruin because of the circumstance of the poverty they have been subjected to. He turned around and looked at us as if we were from a different plant (Canada). He said “These people are more than capable of building themselves a better house, you don’t give them the credit they deserve.”

All that to say, we have started selling transplants of onion and Swiss chard to our friendly Zambian neighbors and it feels amazing. At first we were a little apprehensive about selling vegetables to children and mothers at the VOH but it has opened a whole new understanding of valuing the God given capacity and the abilities of others

Praise Reports

  • Amber got her Canadian license completed thanks to Andrea Simmer
  • We are still illness free
  • The water system has been more consistent lately. Praise God
  • Last week Little Lydia Dawn Moffat was born and she is as cute as a button. Praise God that both mom and baby are safe

Prayer Requests

  • That we wouldn’t be hindered by the Heat of the Hot season
  • Continued wisdom and health