Thursday, December 04, 2008

It’s December

So I can now officially put Christmas music on, set up the tree and decorate the house. I love Christmas. Last night I learned that I can even decorate my blog! I decided that since we don’t get snow here, I would make it snow on this blog for all of December.

I wish it were that easy to make it rain here as well. By December, a regular pattern of thunderstorms is usually fairly well entrenched, but so far this year, it hasn’t happened yet. The local people’s fields were prepared and planted in November, as they are every year, but the tender sprouts of maize that popped up ready for rain have simply baked in the hot sun day after day. This year, there has been hunger early in the season because heavy rains ruined last year's crops (click here for related '07 post). People were anxious to plant as soon as possible so they could eat, but the lack of rain so far only spells more desperate times ahead.

I couldn’t help but notice some of the tell-tale signs of hunger the other day when we delivered food to orphan homes. I don't mean the thin bodies, but rather the behavior. Maize is poured from our bags to the family’s grain bag or bucket, and inevitably some grains spill onto the ground.

Usually these go ignored, but on our last delivery I noticed at most of the homes that someone got on their hands and knees to rescue those few fallen kernels. 

The words of a man who came looking for help yesterday stayed with me the whole day. He said, “We have no food. We’re hungry. And because of that, my wife has no milk for our babies.” I have never gone hungry, but words like these are common here right now, and though we cannot do the impossible, we do what we can to help, then we watch the skies—and pray--for rain. (click here to see Dwight's most recent post, also on this topic)

Other news ☺

It’s intensive seminar time for church leaders/monitors again so that makes for a busy week for all. For my session on health, Celestino and I held a discussion time about the reasons for and risks  of (ie dirty needles) using “candongas” (definition: alternate, often untrained, health care practitioners). Here are some of the reasons given for seeking treatment from a candonga:

Quicker service.
Hospital service is poor (staff may be rude).
(Right about now I hear Canadians saying “Uhuh!”)
Better medicines .
You’re guaranteed an injection (this is desirable since injections “work fast”).
When there are no hospitals nearby.

This particular topic always stimulates a great time of discussion!

While we were gone, Jethro (front center), a Brazilian missionary-friend who works with NASCER (a Brazilian entity involved with sustainable agriculture) held a 1-day seminar on the mission here. We are partnering with them to introduce local farmers to small-scale soya bean production. Of course, seed planting is on hold unti it rains. 

Jethro was able fly with Mercy Air’s chopper to help take this project to more remote regions (pictured below: Swiss chopper pilot Matthias) Thanks for these two photos Jethro!
Seeds that need no rain

These solar-powered “ambassadors” are audio New Testaments that were donated to the mission. We’re in the process of distributing them to the orphan homes we deliver food to, which seems appropriate for the season. Wonderful words, little seeds. I love Christmas!

Marosa with son and grandson pose in front of new home.

And what better way to sign off than with a picture of...the moon? I know, it has no relevance to this post whatsoever. I was just impressed by the way it was positioned between these two stars/planets the other night.

I better run for now. Hope you enjoyed the snow.  At least it's a blog = no one has to shovel it :) So "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

1 comment:

ruth said...

I think those stars are Jupiter and was a celestial event that we didn't get to see in cloudy Seattle:(