Tuesday, March 2

A Year (or Two) in Kenya: Peace Farm

I met people at Gonzaga with honest dreams of being farmers. Three by my count. Before scholarships and grants and whatnot, they were paying $120,000 for a four-year degree, and all they wanted to do was toss some seeds into the ground, rake loads of manure for the majority of the year, worry about when the next rain would come and spend a week or two harvesting in the fall before starting the whole process over again. It may not be so surprising seeing as how the organic food movement has elevated farming into an exemplary profession, a way of fighting big agribusiness and communing with nature through gentler means of production, but it still boggles me. Perhaps, they would have reconsidered had they spent eight months at an IHF center with an attached farm in Nakuru.

In lieu of such experiences I offer to them my own observations.

Cows are morons. They're huge. They have a mass several times greater than even the fatties who hang out at IHOP. When they bother to, they can build up a good momentum. I know. One of the girls hid behind me when a cow was charging her. And with all of these natural advantages on the unarmed child, they will still run the other way when said child throws very small stones at them. If they really wanted to, the cows could have a revolution and do some damage. Humanity's advantage by way of firearms would be insurmountable, but they could certainly take a few of us down with them. But they don't. Because they're morons.

Also,fresh milk steams. I have yet to massage the udders myself and probably never will, but I've seen the children and farmhands do it. It's kind of frightening, a far cry from the cool, pasteurized stuff that comes out of my refrigerator.

Chickens are mean. Rather than focusing on their more immediate enemies, namely the ones who take their eggs at the end of everyday, they peck each other. We have completely bald chickens running around because some other chickens thought they looked weak.

Also, chickens with their heads cut off can really move. I saw one do about three backflips before it settled for two minutes of twitching in place. Then our cook started stepping on their wings to keep them in place.

Goats are morons and mean. On my first trip into Pokot, our driver bought two goats for himself. Every ten minutes of the three-hour drive back, they would butt heads. It wasn't that impressive. There was no lightning charge and thunder crash of skulls. They would just kind of set their hooves and push against each other's head. Then they'd stop. Then they'd do it again. It wouldn't have been so annoying if they hadn't done it around my legs and worried me about the possibility of getting a foot caught.

Also, whoever thought Satan's lower half should be a goat had the right idea but was looking at the wrong end. He should have given the Great Deceiver goat eyes. The pupils are freaking rectangles. That's evil.

It all seems to suggest in rather strong terms that I should not be the coordinator of the Peace Farm and Gardens teams. To my immense relief, it doesn't actually require any work on the farm. So far, it's just searching for seed and equipment sponsors and starting a manual of all the details of produce and livestock care to keep future Western directors from being taken for a ride by lazy farmhands. My work on the team, despite this, can only generously be called spotty. In the spirit of alleviating that, if any reader should know people or organizations potentially interested in donating seeds or equipment to a modestly-sized farm that provides for orphans and one of Kenya's poorest tribes, please let me know. Or, if you'd just like to make a donation yourself, you can do so through our website.


Jessie said...

Sure, an adult cow can mess you up, but have you seen baby cows? They have these big, gooey eyes, and suck on your fingers.

Then you kill them.

Goats are mean, but not as mean as geese. Geese are meaner than chickens, meaner than goats, and relentless. They have no souls.

Chris said...

True that on geese. The most honest portrayal of Satan would be a goat's head on a goose's neck and body.

Wouldn't know about baby cows, or calves as those of us in the know say, but I will soon. One of ours is pregnant.