"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Monday, July 20, 2009

livestock tradition

Last week we learned about the livestock tradition which says that from now until rainy season (sometime in November), livestock rule.They can roam anywhere, anytime, destroy any crops you have, and oh well-so sorry for you and your garden.We had corralled three cows that were eating the young cabbage in the garden. We put them in an empty classroom, parked our vehicle in front of the door and waited to see who would come looking for their cows.
Alex came the next morning.I was going to seek compensation for the cabbage, but so sorry, doesn’t work that way.Here, they fence in the crops and let the animals rein.In almost all other third world countries it is the same, that is one reason they are third world.In developed/successful countries, it is just the opposite.
What should I say in the coming months when people come looking for food?
Since i didn’t know this tradition, I am pretty much done farming until the rains come.No point to put in seed only to have it eaten when it comes up lush and green.If we irrigate where will every animal on both sides of the river come??If we fence with wood/grass, they go through.I brought a solar fencer and some wire-but not enough for three strands (pig, goat, and cattle height), for gardens spread throughout the campus.I may just use it on the test garden up by our house.
Well, we need to fence the whole 300 acres with a good six foot high mesh, electrical fence.But we are talking thousands of dollars, and since there is no ag budget as of yet…there isn’t much to do.
Even if I had the fence to do it right now, I couldn’t because the backhoe is still in the shop and I need it to drive the fence posts in, the ground is so hard.(Yes, after three months, the backhoe is still not fixed-money issues, brand issues (only one Case mechanic), timing issues-this is Africa).But we would still need to fence before we could plant anything before the rain comes.
Talking to the students, David, Henry…they all understand it doesn’t make sense to let the animals rule, but oh well.That’s just the way they do it.I have to ask, when traditions cause suffering, shouldn’t they be changed? Not that our garden of cabbage would have fed that many for very long, but it would have fed some.What if it would have been more than just a few cabbages?
When I ask the Lusaka pastors about this, they can’t believe that it is just okay for the livestock to come anywhere.Your neighbor can’t just let his dog or kids come into your yard and destroy your stuff.
Even if I had enough fence (I brought a single strand-a few miles long), I don’t have a strong enough solar fencer to cover the whole campus.>And they use plastic insulators so if a fire comes in, they burn.If current isn’t strong enough, the livestock goes right through.If I can ever get to the actual farming, this easily a full time job for me.Until then?

1 comment:

wewally said...

Can you get rebar localy? a four foot piece with three insulators is easy to drive with a big hammer and will go a long way toward stopping cattle. If the line is kept clean the solar fencer should do the trick unless its just a dog fencer. I have grazed hundreds of cattle over the years now a truck driver but electricity is the easiest way to stop a cow. Oh, and up until the 80"s there was still open range in parts of Montana.