is plentiful but the workers are few. (Matthew 9:37)
I must admit that if you accuse me, in this blog, of sounding like a proud, bragging Mum you will not be far from the truth. In fact you will be exactly correct! This is the season for harvesting in Kabale, Uganda and the photo above shows our family busy with their first “Family Harvest.” In the May 27 Memorial Day blog I shared how Ivan was working hard towards MCM self-sustainability and had used the proceeds of his football shack to purchase seeds for a half acre of Irish potatoes. This fall harvest increased from a half acre to 3 acres of both Irish potatoes and the new crop of sorghum.
As you may have surmised, harvesting (manually with hoes and hands) is hard work. It takes a lot longer to harvest three acres than it does one half. So Ivan, being the kind of Daddy who wants his children to be blessed by both hard work as well as learning how to farm asked his three older children, Hope (15), Peace (14) and Joshua (13) to join him and his workers at the farm for a Saturday of harvesting. Let me explain how this is done for those of you who are like me, a city person.
Hoes are basically a heavy piece of timber with an even heavier rudimentary piece of metal nailed into the end. They are poor harvesting tools for potatoes which grow underground. One strike with a hoe like that can crush and ruin a lot of little potatoes. So the method is to loosen the dirt around the plant with the hoe and have someone come along behind and dig, prying with their fingers to find and pull out the potatoes, unharmed. See photo inset top left…my Peace in the direct hot sun, squatting in the field, hands dirty, busy finding potatoes…smiling! ALL day! One break for lunch which our neighbors brought (along with our 6 year old) to the field for all to share. Then back to work. Back-breaking, hot, dirty and very rough on the hands. Especially the fingertips where the nail bed meets the skin and has dirt driven in there for hours on end. And, no, my sweethearts did not complain once! Not all that day and not the next day when I’m sure their muscles and fingers were screaming. I am so proud of them!!
It is worth adding that when I say “our kids” I am talking about the 4 children that Ivan brought with him to Kabale from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. These are city kids too. These kids, unlike our sponsored children there, have never worked on farms. All of their friends that they go to school with have been raised in this peasant farming area. They all know what it means to go and to “dig” and now three of our four kids know too. I am feeling the smile of God on their little shaved heads. They are learning how to farm! As well as garden as Ivan also has them weed his little gardens at home. They are learning the sweat equity that goes into potatoes for dinner. They prayed when there was a drought early in the summer and they prayed again when there were torrential rains that flooded the fields in late summer. They must have felt such dignity and satisfaction in seeing the 21, 80 kg bags of potatoes their Dad harvested in all! What a blessing to be able to grow your own food and then sell the extra to provide for your family! For the first time, I am experiencing America’s original Thanksgiving in a new and powerful way! May you also be blessed with a new appreciation of “The Harvest” this Fall.