Monday, September 19, 2011

Fire, Smoke, and Back to School.

You knew a post about fire was coming, right? This is the season of fire after all, so it was just a matter of watching and waiting and the yearly "fire story" would come along.

Well, for the past while we've also been watching and waiting for fire. This is September and the bush is dry and brown--the perfect tinderbox. And wild fires are all around. Huge tracts of land have already been torched around us. We do our best to maintain a wide, clear swathe along the boundary. We have animals, and agriculture projects (not to mention people, equipment, etc), and we really don't need all that going up in flames. So needless to say, day after day and night after night, we have all kept a watchful eye on the horizon for smoke.

On Tuesday, we did some watching and waiting of another sort as we awaited the arrival of the nation's First Lady. She was visiting a neighboring community and we had been invited to meet her and set up a display showing mission's various programs.

Women's Ministry Display Table

Pastor's Training Display Table (note health manual in bottom right of photo :))

By noon, things were ready and in high gear. The crowd's excitement was palpable as many ululated (high-pitched singing) and danced in circles around drummers beating on raw-hide drums. This created a fair bit of sweat and huge clouds of dust. Then the wind would blow and in its indecision about where to take all that dust, it would blow first this way then that, and in doing so gave us all our fair share of grit several times over.

The display tables were set up on one side of the entry road, and Dwight and I were placed in the long and very packed elbow-to-elbow receiving line-up on the other side. So there we all were outside in the hot sun and wind and dust celebrating our expected VIP's visit.

Several hours went by this way and as we stood and waited and watched for the First Lady, a rising column of smoke over the mission farm caught our eye. A quick call home confirmed that the fire was inside our boundary line and rushing toward the cattle pen. Several dignitaries had still not arrived at the VIP event, so we decided it was safe to peel off for awhile to help organize firefighting.

Rick and Dwight take a moment to size up and decipher the direction of the fire and the wind before putting a plan into place.

One group of guys rushes off to beat flames.

While all this was happening, a couple came walking up the road. The husband went on ahead to check on safety while his wife and small baby stayed behind and waited. I found out she'd just given birth the previous day, and already here this new mom was walking many kilometers out into the bush to her home.

I believe the estimate of area burned was about 100 hectares that day, but mid-burn we were called back to our spot in the line up. The dignitaries had arrived and the First Lady was soon to arrive. And so we left the fire to rejoin the crowd.

Kids are back in school now after their breaks, as they are everywhere it seems. Every morning during our devotional/work coordinating time, this little guy walks past us on his way to school. I love seeing kids going to school :)

Here's the mission truck after its last run to town for supplies. Among those supplies are a few bikes for students who have a very long walk to school. Aren't they going to be happy!

Bikes for students, check.
Brooms for clinic/warehouse, check.
Diesel for generator, check.
Paint for construction, check.
Chipboard for building, check.
And that's just the start. Truck trips to town are always full-day events.

Students helping to harvest vegetables in the garden.

We had some very warm weather for several days last week, and I guess that's the signal for all spiders to come out from their burrows. We discovered this guy by one of the bookcases in our house the other night. Ack!

Pity to kill him (for several reasons),
so Dwight caught him and put him back outside where he should be.

Pinned under a plastic container.
Yes, plastic containers are useful in many ways out here!

Just to give you an idea of size.

As if spider #1 wasn't bad enough, we discovered spider #2 crawling onto our cutting board!

And as if that wasn't bad enough, he sprinted onto the sliced bread!

Anyway, I'm late with this post and I really need to run. Here's hoping for fewer fires and spiders this week!

1 comment:

Karen said...

I'm usually not bothered by spiders but these are spiders of a different breed (a.k.a. size)!