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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012

Hi all

It has been a few weeks since my last post.  I don't know about the rest of you but I believe winter is over.  Here in Chicago land it has been in the seventies and eighties since last week.  April is coming upon us soon and it looks like spring unless the seasons decide to change.  I haven't washed my car since last summer and it really needs a bath.  Maybe I should take my car to Kenya to get it washed and then it will surely rain.  For my African friends, here in the states when we want it to rain we wash our cars and it rains.  It's like magic.

Hezron tells me that there has been some rain and periods of no rain since my last post.  There seems to be rain in the forecasts but usually fizzles out.  I guess the weather forecasters in Kenya are about the same as here.  We were told this winter at least four or five times of impending doom.  Storms that would bring in anywhere from ten to twenty four inches of the white stuff.  Each time they called for a dumping we got less then an inch.  The one time we received over an inch the prediction was about eight.  Maybe if they would of called for four inches we would of received four inches.  Some of you might remember the storm of the century in Philly years ago when it was going to be one of those one hundred year storms and we would never forget.  We got what about a quarter inch.  However they were right I will never forget.

As I said in my last post we have lost many seedlings and the ones that have survived are not growing that great.  Once the rains start and the passion start to grow again I will try and set a date to go back to Kenya.  I have been praying to get some direction but I get no answer whatsoever.  Most of the time I just can't understand how God operates.  I'm convinced that he has his hands on this venture.  However as we get closer to success the rug is ripped out from underneath us.  There has to be a lesson here somewhere.  Many times I just want to give up. 

The same thing is happening with the project I am working on at the factory.  I have been putting in a new production line since I came back from Kenya last October and just when I think the line is up and running good it decides to make a liar out of me.  This has been going on for weeks now and I am about ready to fire myself or maybe I should give me a few days off to think about it.  Not a chance I continue to go in and face the music.  Everytime the line gives a little burp, jams up, or miss cuts I can only shake my head and wonder.  We are making shaped pieces of steel ten feet long and the line speed is supposed to be one hundred and forty feet a minute.  If my math is correct this means that the steel moves through the cutter at about two and a third feet per second.  The tolerance of the cut piece is plus or minus one eighth of an inch with nothing under ten feet.  Can you understand the frustration I have when it is running along fine and a piece of steel is cut and it is nine feet eleven and seven eighths inches long?  Once the steel is cut it can't be made any longer.  My frustration is nowhere near the frustration the boss has when we throw it into the scrap bin.  He is an accountant by profession and what he sees is $$ in one eye and $$ in the other eye.  For my accountant friends I am sure you can feel his pain.  For my manufacturing friends I think you can relate to this as well.  At least when we have longs we can recut them to ten feet exactly but it still counts as rework.  I have only been able to get it to full speed on a few occasions.  To minimize the shorts we are running the line in and around one hundred feet a minute until I can get the brake to stop on a dime.  We keep telling ourselves that we will get it right eventually and we will be laughing about this months from now.

Again there has to be a lesson here but I can't see it.

Take care and God bless


Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012


It's been a while since my last post.  Things are not going very well at all in Kenya or here in the states for that matter.  The lack of rain in Western Kenya has taken a heavy toll on the passion fruit.  Virtually every plot has been hit with lack of rain.  Some of the plots have lost up to half the seedlings and the survivors are slow to grow.  Normally Mt. Elgon is covered in dark clouds providing rain on a regular basis.  The last few months have been a different story.  There is some bright news on the horizon as Hezron tells me that the rains are starting to come back to the Western Province.

I have also heard that the Chairlady for the Kakamega widows group had left the group and during her departure the group went into limbo.  My understanding is that Hezron has gotten her to come back to the group and they are working to clean up the orchards that went to weeds.

This is all sad indeed.  It appears the more you try to do good the other side pulls the rug out from under you.  I guess more sane people would just call it a day.  Pick up the pieces and move on.  As I sit here writing to this blog I am at a complete loss on how to express my emotions.  I really want to say some not so nice things.  However it would do no good.  All I can say is I am extremely devastated and it is time to regroup.

Here are some pictures of the various areas.

Pastor Odongo's plot Busia

Councilor Mabango in Busia

Pastor John Imala in Kakamega

Second Kakamega widows plot full of weeds

Jane on Mt. Elgon

Mt. Elgon plot

I need to make a return trip to Kenya but I am not sure on when to go and what to do once I get there.  I have put this at His feet and will wait patiently until I get my marching orders.  I can't remember if anyone ever told me that this God thing would be easy.  The Bible does say that it will be a struggle and it's so true to its word.  Maybe this is why so many people choose to ignore it.

Take care and God bless