Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Introducing Jack fruit!

      The interdiction of Jack fruit has been very successful in Central African Republic. It is both a fast growing tree, and produces a lot of fruit. Since everyone loves to eat the fruit, and they grow just about anywhere they are planted, it is common to see jack fruit trees in villages and peoples gardens in and around Gamboula. Roy has been working for year to promote many varieties of jack fruit, and while I was there I was able to help with this.  

              I filmed this little clip talking about jack fruit in CAR while I was there, but did not have fast enough internet to upload it. Now that I am back in the States, I have been able to do that. 

             One day I harvested 16 fruit from the tree out side my house! Lucky for me I was able to find a few friends to help me eat them.  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A New Chapter in His Story

            Over the past few weeks I have been praying through the Psalms. During this time, God has been teaching about and showing me his unfailing and ever present love. In times of trouble, heartache, when I had a hard time seeing him, or when I felt attacked by life, he was always there. I have been in the United States only a few days now, and am still processing being back and all I have been through in the last 20 months. One thing I have been able to see very clearly though is that God never left me, and was with me every step of the way.
           My last week in Africa, I made a quick trip back to Gamboula from where I was in Cameroon. It was incredibly hard, but I am very grateful it worked out. I had a total of three days to hand over my responsibilities, give crash courses in a number of subjects, including beekeeping, pack up my house, and say goodbyes. Although time was short, and it was very hard to leave that way, God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace about it, and provided the closure I needed. Thanks to everyone who prayed me through that time.
            In one week, I will be headed to Fort Myers, Florida, where I hope to spend a few months. I will be taking this time to re-focus, and seek the direction where God wants me next. I have had many unique experiences in CAR and Cameroon. I know God gave them to me for a reason, and I want to figure out how to use them in the future.
            Thanks to everyone who joined me in this journey and made it possible.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Saying goodbye to Gamboula.

      This past weekend, I was able to make one last trip back to Gamboula. I spent a total of 3 days there packing a few personal things, handing over my responsibilities and saying goodbye to the farm and friends. It was way too short a time, but I am very thankful for it. 
       One of the things I had to do was hand over all my responsibilities. I gave crash courses in internet upkeep, Rabbit raising, Bee keeping, and how to use computers. Since I had not been expecting to hand things over for another few months, I had not really trained people in everything yet.
         I spent an entire morning with Jeremy and Richard, working with the rabbit herd - giving medicine, learning about managing, and talking about foods. One of the does gave birth that morning, bringing the number of rabbits up to 21. 

        Monday afternoon was with Alexander and Placid. There were a bunch of specific tasks they had never seen before and that we needed to do anyways, so we had some good hands-on experience. The three weeks that I was away this time, 2 new swarms moved in to some empty hives I had set out. There are now a total of 9 hives with bees! 

I was at Gamboula over a Sunday and was able to attend one last service before I left. 
Maylay apples are one of the juiciest, sweetest fruit in Eden. I hit the season just right and was able to get one last taste..
Dingos are large crickets that have a really distinct sound.  There are not that many in our part of CAR because the soil is so hard. One night I heard the sound a long ways off and was able to track it down. This is my favorite insect to eat, but only comes out for a few weeks during the year. 

My last evening I was able to take time to run around the farm, and see all the fields one last time.  
Our multipurpose building. Because of rain, and other things, I was unable to attend morning chapel in this building with all the staff and workers. 
There are still mounds of beans coming off the farm for the seed distribution project. 
My house out at the farm.

The cocoa trees are loaded this year. Last year there were only a few fruit here and there, but this year the 4 year-old trees are yielding a lot. 
The chicken house
Fish ponds
The Cola nut trees have fruit on them too. This a a big cash crop in the area. 
With all the rain, the cover crops have taken off all over the farm. 
The director saw a strange fruit in the forest he wanted to show me. I was able to climb the tree to get it, and it turned out to be a wild cola.  

The cola fruit 
The weather map from one of the days. There was a lot of rain before and while I was at Gamboula. As a result I was not able to take my motorcycle out for one last spin. 
On our way back from CAR, our four-wheel drive land cruiser got bogged down in the mud. With the help of some young guys who showed up after we had been digging for a while, we were able to get free. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

My last glimps of Gamboula

                It is with much sadness that I inform you that the door for me working in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been closed. It has been a long hard week of waiting on the Lord for direction, but in the end the decision has been made for me to finish my term early and return to the United States. With more political problems in the country, my Danforth teammates gone, and the accumulated stress of living there, it is time to leave.
                I would greatly appreciate prayer the next few days, as I will be making a quick two day trip back to Gamboula to get a few personal belongings, and say goodbye. I will then be returning to California sometime in early November. My sister and grandparents live in southern California, and I will be able to spend a little time with them. Beyond that, I don’t yet know where I will be settling, or what I will be doing. A life verse for me has been Psalms 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight". I am trusting that God will direct and provide what I need when I need it. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Where CAR lays on the HDI

                  The Human Development Index (HDI) is an index that "is a summary measure of average achievement in Key dimensions of Human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living." It basically measures people's ability to develop given their current conditions and standards of living. Countries with high HDI are places like the United States, Western Europe, and some Asian countries. Medium HDI are countries that are doing ok for themselves, but are not doing as well as high HDI ones. Low HDI countries are places where people are living close or in poverty, have poor health care, poor education, and poor life expectancy. Their living conditions do not promote development. 

Graph from

               Many countries are rising on this scale as they develop. Many countries in Africa are near the bottom, but are still rising. In the past 30 years CAR has ever so slowly been climbing. In 2013 when there was the coup the country began its plummet to last place on the HDI. Although the 2014 numbers are not in yet, 2014 has been a worse year for CAR then 2013. According to this graph Niger is at the bottom, with CAR close behind. I have no doubt that CAR is in last place now.
                The United Nations is working with the transitional government to stabilize the country, and help it begin its climb again. There are, however, multiple rebel movements that are hindering this work. Getting to even where it was before 2013 on the HDI will take many years. Keep praying for the country of CAR, for the fighting to stop, for the people that are there to be able to help, and for the country to begin to right itself.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cameroon is feeling like home

                “Who comprehends the mind of the Lord, or gives him instruction as his councilor?” Isiah 40:13.
                During the past two weeks a lot has happened in Danforths and my life. From our prospective it is hard to understand why things have been happening the way they have. I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control and knows what he is doing. Threw this a major theme has been having enough faith to trust God, and not trying to figure everything out on my own.  

                Due to recent events in the CAR as well as our emotional, physical, and spiritual health, the Danforths and I have left The CAR for a time. Danforths have gone to South Africa for some R&R and I am in Yaoundé Cameroon. Our hope is to eventually return but that will not be for at least another five weeks. Since I only have a few more months before the end of my term, I am not sure what the future holds. Right now I am discussing my options with Reach Global staff. I will send out another update when I have more of a plan, but in the meantime, I would greatly apreeshate your prayers. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Photos from the week 9/28/2014

We have been getting ton of rain. In the last week the fish ponds, streams and roads all flooded. The truck even got stuck right on the farm. 

I had to give the whole rabbit herd medicine for mites this week. The first step was to find their weights. Surprisingly they all cooperated when they had to be weighed.  
I believe this is a mature Goliath ant lion. The larva stage of some ant lions is the thing that makes inverted cones in the ground that trap ants. When they grow up they get wings.

These are variegated plantains. Both the leaves of the plant and the fruit have white stripes in them. 

Nonedible Ornamental Banana. 
Besides all the rain we have been getting, there are also tons of flowers around.

Roy has planted bunches of Heliconias around. These bright flowers attract a few kinds of shiny sun birds. 

These flowers are the first blooms on a bush I planted outside my house. The flowers have a really odd structure compared to other flowers, and have a really nice smell.  

Under my outside faucet I planted a bunch of colors of Balsam. They are all in full bloom this week. 

These little guys are a native wild Hibiscus. They are really small, and only bloom once a year.