This rainy season has been one of the strangest on record. We have had long dry stretches. And now, when the rains are supposed to be finishing we have had the wettest April that many Zambians ever remember. With some anxiousness we wake in the night as the rain pounds on the tin roof wondering when in the world we will ever be able to prep the fields for this year's 100,000 strawberry plants. Rolling over with long sighs, we realize that God has it all under control and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. But as the rainy days drag on, we have decided to hire workers to form our beds. If we don't have them do it, we may be waiting for weeks. Weeks that we don't have. Because at this moment, our plants our sitting in cold storage. If they stay there too long...they will remain in a vegetative state and will not produce berries.
Hesitatingly, we finally agreed to our farm manager's advice to round up some of the Lifesong School mamas to form the beds. "We will try it and see how it looks," Erik said. He was pleasantly surprised and even amazed at how quickly and efficiently they formed the beds by hand using crude hoes and persistent effort, even in the rain! After 3 days, 3.5 out of 4 acres of beds are ready. Each row is over 300 feet long and they have done over 150. (For those who care, that's over 45,000 linear feet!!) This is serious progress and work.
The ladies operate a hoe like we drive a car. They can talk and interact without any thought of what they are actually doing. Granted, they don't eat fast food or apply makeup while hoeing, but they can have fun and still get a lot done.
The ladies are excited to have work which equals income which equals food for their children for a few more weeks.
As the beds are completed, some of the ladies break off bed forming to stretch irrigation drip lines down each row, cover each bed with plastic, and hoe in each row so there is enough soil to hold down the plastic. On Monday, they will begin punching holes in the plastic and planting plants in each hole. The plants will be dipped in fertilizer and insecticide right before they are planted.
Our family has anxiously awaited this time. We knew once the new baby plants were all snug in their beds, we would be heading for America. As of today there are only 25 days till departure. Our emotions are mixed. My good friend Amy expressed the way it feels so well. The analogy she shared on her blog keeps running through my mind and has been very helpful for me and our kids to put words to what we are feeling.
In America, we were yellow.
We thought yellow, we talked yellow, we dreamed yellow, hey, we even ate yellow!
We really like yellow.
In Zambia, we are blue, or at least try to be.
We find our minds stretching to think blue, interact in the blue way, and occasionally we eat blue.
We really like blue.
But we really aren't either blue or yellow...we have become a shade of green.
And we like green. We think.
Green feels strange. What is familiar? What is normal? What if we act blue in a yellow situation? For instance, eating rice with our hands. Or forgetting to wear shoes in public. Or, driving on the wrong side of the road. And these are the obvious ones. Who knows what will go through our green minds. But, we look forward to the adventure and certainly will have many laughs and embarrassing moments. Isn't that what makes life interesting?
Here is yellow me operating a blue tool and doing a green job of it.