We have an epic blog post for you that is just packed with pictures and all kinds of fun experiences! We traveled to an area in Baringo to visit one of our students, Philip, and his church. We went there on Saturday, got great tours of his parents' home and farm, and spent the night with them before going to church on Sunday. They've trained a beautiful bougainvillea plant to be a shade where they can sit outside:
The barn where they store grass and feed for their animals (the grass on the outside is to protect the inside from rain blowing in):
The kitchen (the chickens know where food can be found...):
This is the family's mango-loving cow. They said that they have to keep it away from the mango trees or it will eat all of them before the family can get any!
Philip has his own plot on his parents' land. This is the grass-thatched house he has (which he built and decorated himself, by the way):
And in case you thought that a grass-thatched house means people are living in a primitive way, take note of the computers inside of Philips! He studied IT before he came to the Bible college, so he's got some of the tools of the trade in his house.
But that hut is mostly for storage because he built a more permanent house next to it:
Here is part of the inside:
A random picture of one of the containers the family uses for storing water:
Some of the cows in the pen where they stay at night. The one looking at you is the one that eats mangoes:
Baringo is a pretty dry area of the country, so they have to be really conscious about storing up water for the dry season, especially since they have various animals. Now, it's the dry season, so they are working on digging a new pit that will collect water when it rains so they have enough when it's dry. Look how tiny Anthony is!
Here's a ditch that runs into the water storage pit- rainwater will be directed by this into the pit.
And this is the second pit they have that still has some water. But it's drying up pretty quickly, so they're waiting anxiously for the rain to come!
Every time the family has visitors, they have the visitors plant a tree. Their land is actually very distinctive from the neighbors because they have so many trees all over! Anthony's tree:
Since they love farming so much, I brought seeds from some of the plants in my garden to share:
Philip used a really long stick to pick a white sapote fruit for me to taste:
Philip and his dad are really experienced beekeepers. I was a little nervous getting so close to this hive, but Philip assured me that we would be fine.
How do you get over a fence if you aren't near the gate?
They have so many banana trees, as well as mango trees. They have to be fenced off so goats, sheep, and cows don't get into them, though:
A really cool new experience we had was tasting honey from stingless bees. They're really tiny insects, from a different genus (Meliponini) than honey bees, and Philip and his dad had found them somewhere, put them into a tiny gourd, and hung the gourd from the house. As time went on, more of them came and they keep adding more gourds for the little bees. They've got them hanging up all over around all their buildings.
These bees don't produce a lot of honey, so you don't harvest the honey in the same you do for ordinary bees. Philip just opened up a gourd for us to taste:
While eating the honey, you end up eating a lot of stuck bees at the same time, but they tasted like honey!
There is some kind of local fruit that Philip sent home with us. I still haven't figured out what it is, but it apparently can be soaked in hot water and used like tamarind:
Philip's mom made us good food for the whole time we were there. Saturday evening, she was cleaning millet that the family had grown.
And it was strongly suggested that I help out :)
She also shelled some maize (homegrown of course) in a really clever way that I had never seen before:
Then, we helped to grind the maize and millet into flour with this awesome hand mill they have:
Here's our dinner, which included ugali made from the very flour we ground:
In the evening, Philip put on all his beekeeping garb and cut some wax out of a hive for me. He uses that padded cap under his bee hat so the bees can't get to his head through the hat:
After a very interesting and busy day, we slept very soundly and woke up ready to go to church.
Before the service, I got a demonstration of a fireless cooker started with the people who were around that early, including many of the youths from the church. We boiled beans (that had soaked overnight) for ten minutes, then covered the pot and wrapped it in a sheet and put it inside the fireless cooker we made:
I stumbled through as much explanation as I could in Swahili:
We used a big saucepan instead of a basket as the main container, then dry grass as the insulation.
After that, people started arriving for church. Anthony preached an inspiring message about how the pastor is like a coach who equips the people of the church for ministry. So everyone should be thinking about the gifts God has given them that they can use to serve him, in the church and in the community:
After the service, Anthony also got a chance to answer questions from the youth:
And then, we had the moment when we unveiled the beans that had been cooking in the fireless cooker for the past 4 hours.
People were impressed at how hot the pot still was:
Then everyone got to taste some fireless cooker beans:
It was a really nice visit and we are thankful for the opportunity we had to learn from Philip's family and enjoy their company. Here we are with Philip and his parents: