We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Goat's Head on a Stick

A goat's head on a stick. No, nothing I saw, but it's a story we heard that made me think. More on that in a minute.

Yesterday we visited a seed nursery and bought some different tree seedlings. We bought some trees for firewood, a couple of papaya trees as well as a few neem and moringa trees which I have been wanting to get for a while. We bought the firewood trees to take to Magozi today. Our friend, Kalista, wanted to buy some and had asked us to get some for her; we are pleased that the idea of planting trees is spreading and people are thinking about buying them for themselves. And as of today, we have more orders so will go back to Magozi with more firewood trees as well as the neem, moringa and fruit trees! I am looking forward to making these trees part of our "gardening" work in Kimande and Itunundu when we move in to do the stoves project. I am quite excited about doing all this gardening when we get out there. I hope it will inspire ideas and action and also be a great way to get to know the other women in the village, as we are working together. And hope, of course, that the gardening will bear much fruit in the future! The girls too are hoping to do some bag gardens with some of the older children.

Choosing our seedlings
It was great to be in Magozi today. Tim was going to Kimande and Itunundu to sort things out for our new house and set up a meeting with the Anglican and Pentecostal pastors to talk about how we do the stoves project together. And as recently we have only paid flying visits to Magozi, this time I wanted to have more time there to visit with people. So we left early at 7am and Tim dropped the girls and me off on his way past and then picked us up at lunchtime. It was great to meander again and visit different friends. In the course of the morning we had breakfast three times and then lunch with Ezekiel and family! Ezekiel and Bora are doing so well. They have started a garden just outside their home, growing all kinds of nutritious vegetables. It's wonderful! And their pig (yes, the one we took on that memorable journey!) has grown up well and is now expecting piglets, so the pig business will be good. And their lovely little girl, Lightness, is toddling about and starting to talk. God is good!

Ezekiel's garden (tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, spinach ...)
Now preparing for tomorrow ...  I am nervously anticipating taking cheese-making to the next level. At the weekend, Tim made me a cheese-press! Yes, I am delighted and excited! Now with my starter and rennet, we are ready to make hard cheeses. On Monday, Lucy and I made up the mother starter culture with a litre of milk. We left it for 24 hours in a thermos and yesterday morning we were encouraged to find all as it should be (I think!), and we froze it all in ice cube trays and small portions, ready for all this cheese that is going to be made! So tomorrow is the big day ... we are going to make a farmhouse cheese (which is the prequel to making cheddar, I think). The hard bit will then be waiting a few months to see if it worked! But we are all ready for curds and whey, for pressing and turning, and storing and waiting. How much should we attempt to make before we do a taste test? We are all keen to get to Cheddar! And we hope we can find a market for the cheese. Lucy is keen and able and I really hope we can get her selling a variety of cheeses on a small scale; so far we have made a mean mozzarella (perfect for pizza), cottage cheese (perfect for lasagne), cream cheese (perfect for cheesecake and cinnamon bun icing) and halloumi (perfect for grilled sandwiches). But the know-how is one thing and the marketing and selling another. But you never know unless you try, and if at first you don't succeed try, try, again!
The Cheese Press
Now finally, to the goat's head on a stick. The preacher last Sunday told the story of a man who had a goat. One day he went to work in his shamba (crop fields) and not wanting to lose his goat, he took it with him. He tied the goat to a rope. He pushed a stick into the ground beside a bush and tied the goat's rope to the stick. Then he got to work in his field, looking now and then to make sure his goat was still there. While he was working, another man came along and cut the head off the goat. He balanced the head of the goat on the stick and ran off with the whole body. And as the man in the field continued to work he saw the head of his goat by the bush and figured that all was well. It wasn't until he finished his work and returned to the goat that he realised he only had the head of his goat.

It got me thinking that many of us, maybe more of us than care to admit, are a bit like this goat. People can see our head and think that all is fine, maybe think that all is great, and likewise we can fool ourselves into thinking the same. We can be convincing heads, but sometimes are we just balancing it all on a stick when there's actually not a lot behind it? Maybe not a lot of meat or substance, or not a lot of heart, or perhaps not a lot of "life." From what I remember, the preacher was encouraging us not to keep trying to please or impress people, but remember what really matters. What is truly important and meaningful about our life? Let's not be nodding our heads about to make it look like we are fine or we are busy, all the while forgetting what God has given us. He gives us legs to stand on and run, a heart to love and serve with and more than anything, LIFE! Who wants just the head of a goat on a stick? We need a body; we need someBody.

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