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Dear Friends and Family,
on the Mission Field
I have been to Uganda with the team from House of Friends and would now like to return. The team’s purpose was two-fold: to do sponsorship updates and small special projects at Abba House in Uganda, and to do manual remodeling of a school facility in Ethiopia to make it into a House of Friends Home. The team members were mainly from the Kansas City area, but Iowa was also represented.
Barb Decker WORKED LIKE AN AFRICA
The pastor of the local church, who works extensively with the home and school, was skeptical of my gardening at first, but then at the church service before I left, he said,” I don’t understand why someone would come from so far away to dig in the dirt and plant seeds. But I give God the Glory for this person who came and worked in the soil like an African so that these children can have a better diet.”
Though I went with them, as a team, I stayed in Uganda for the full two weeks. My purpose there was to plant a garden with good vegetables to enhance their daily food. They eat a lot of red beans and “posho”, a bland corn flour mush. Posho is a word in Swahili, meaning “provision”. At the school, which is on the same property as the Abba House, they cook up about 25 pounds of beans every day and serve them as lunch with posho. Big sweet potatoes appear occasionally and sometimes the beans are flavored with small eggplants or with small, sun-dried minnows. I am reminded of the stories of the Israelites and their “posho” of manna, and how tired they got from eating that stuff every day! It is basically the same scenario at the Abba House. They eat posho porridge for breakfast, their school provides posho and beans for lunch, and then they return to the Home for a hearty meal of beans, perhaps with minnows or eggplant, and posho. Sometimes groups of individuals will refuse to eat; the Bible says that hunger makes things taste better. I remember in Venezuela, when someone commented, concerning sun-dried minnows, “yeah, we boil them together with some potatoes and then, with a little hunger they can make a fine meal.” The groups wait until hunger gnaws at them, usually by suppertime, to receive their portions of the ”manna”.
PLANTINGS FOR A BETTER DIET…
Hence, my purpose there was to start a garden so the diet of the kids had a little more variety in it. I took seeds with me, planted them, and then was very encouraged with what God did with them. Though the rains are not supposed to start until late July, we got a good soaking rain at a most convenient time. My garden preparing and planting did not start until the second week--after the team had gone on to Ethiopia. Then I had from Tuesday, to Tuesday before I was to also go to Ethiopia and meet up with the team for the return trip home. I started planting, with the help of Rose, one of the Abba House moms, on the first Tuesday. That week, we planted yard-long green beans, spinach, chard, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, beets, and lima beans. It rained on Friday. Returning to the garden on Monday, I found stuff breaking through the soil—cucumbers, yard-long beans, zucchini and even the lima beans, which were planted last. How (Continued on back side)
Above—Barb, left, Rose, right, preparing soil and planting. Left—One of the little jewels of Abba House.
I would like to support Barbara Decker’s work on the mission field with House of Friends in the following way. ___ Barbara Decker Mission Support (Monthly) $_________(One Time Gift) $________ ___ Agriculture Projects for Abba House in Uganda $_________ ___ Mission Trip Expenses to Uganda $_________ ___ Please send more information about House of Friends.
All donations are tax deductible. Please write checks payable to: House of Friends and send to P O Box 228, Alma, MO 64001 Thank you for caring!
encouraging! We continued to plant all the seeds that I brought—carrots, turnips, cilantro, basil, more chard, and more green beans.
as is the custom. Two water sources are better than one. I would like to be a part of getting solar power set up to pump water from the lake as well.
The property is right on the edge of Lake Victoria and the garden is about 500 yards from the massive source of water, but the water’s edge is protected by papyrus as a natural filter for the Water pit where children sometimes get rains as they make water for daily use and where I obtained their way to the lake. water for the garden. A water “pit” has been dug between the lake and the garden for the kids to collect water for their use. There is also a spigot of city water nearby, though its usage costs. I hauled water up the hill from the waterhole to use on the garden. It was not an easy feat and I did it more for the experience of knowing what the kids have to do to get water. One of the projects the team researched was how to get water from the lake for usage at the Home and garden. Electricity is also costly, though solar is not. A solar pump, or pumps, can be used easily there. Uganda is on the equator and there is not a shortage of solar power. There is a plan, and funds, for digging a well on the property. Being so near the lake, the water table should be fairly high. A well will draw in all the neighbors to the free water source,
COME BACK AND TEACH…
I do regret not having the time to teach about what I was doing. I had one opportunity to talk to the secondary school students one day at lunch break. I spoke Teaching at the Christian high school mainly a meditation on Abba House grounds. on Matthew 13, the parable of the sower. Two boys came to me while I was in the garden and asked if I would come back to teach them. I would like to get back in time for the harvest in 60-70 days, or around the beginning of September. I would like to be there for at least 3 months and get a water system going with solar power from the lake. I would also like to continue planting and teaching gardening methods. This time I used a perforated water bottle method, thinking the kids might enjoy more filling the buried water bottles rather than just watering the plants. With this method, the roots get the abundance of water and there is minimal evaporation above ground.
VISION AND PRAYER
There is also vision for, and land for,` wider scale food production-- wider scale that would need a tractor and implements. Uganda is an agricultural country and a tractor could be easy enough to obtain if we had the right contacts. I present this to you as a prayer request—for the food production as well as a place for the older boys, as they graduate from the school, to work and live if they would continue their education at university level. This would be a future possibility; there are none to graduate for another two years. I am very excited about this project and its possibilities, especially getting more into the children’s diet than beans and posho. I want to be able to write about the universal fight of trying to get the kids to eat their broccoli, but more so, I want to teach them how to grow things that will better their diets and maybe their lives. I need your support on this endeavor. The flight into Entebbe, Uganda will cost about $1800. I understand that in Uganda, solar water pumps can be purchased at a reasonable cost. I will research the growing seasons and the time of the rains in Uganda. There were many things, like plants and fruits that are similar to what I could find in Venezuela and Colombia, so Uganda seems familiar to me. Unlike places I have been though, if I were to drive, I would have to set my mind on the other side of the road as they drive on the left side. It is an English settlement, therefore English is the official language--the “proper” England’s English, with a bit of Ugandan accent--and they drive on the left side of the road. Recently Uganda has been in the news for terrorist activity in Kampala, the nation’s capital. Please pray for my protection as well as the protection of the Abba House children. Entebbe is about 45 minutes south of the capital, on the shore of Lake Victoria. (Lake Victoria is the biggest body of water in East Africa and its shoreline includes Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.) My knee doctor has given a 2-year clearance, to go and do. I will ask for prayer in that aspect also, that if I fall, I will not damage the hardware; and if the work or the uneven ground makes them swell or get stiff, I would have the wisdom to take a day off and rest. I am forever grateful that I was able to purchase my home in Alma when I did. It is a safe haven for the times that I come back to the States. Please pray that enough provision will come in each month to cover the living costs, without cutting away from the proposed projects of water and farm in Uganda. Your prayers and support are deeply appreciated. May God pay you back with abundant blessings- good measure, packed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38) In Him,
Barbara Decker, Missionary House of Friends P O Box 228 Alma, MO 64001