Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

There Used to Be Trees

From Noel:

I don’t know when I’ve been so tired–and humbled. We left the house at 6 am to drive to the edge of the escarpment leading down to the Rift Valley, which is wide, deep, and distinct here. We waited at the top for women who would be walking down into the valley to collect fire wood. They would already have been walking 2-3 kilometers, then it was another 3-4 kilometer walk (not the right word) down rocky, dusty semi-paths to find a place where there was still wood to be found.

Hill and valley as far as you can see used to be covered with forest and rich land, maybe just 30 years ago. Now it is all eroded down to grass, rocks, scrub, and gullies. The firewood the women collect, we would call kindling. That’s all that’s left now.

Here’s the humbling part. We went down too, but not as far as the women. Going down, Talitha was glad for a helping hand several times when the slope was steep and the rocks slippery underfoot. But she was energized on the way back–way ahead of me.

By the time I was about halfway back up, I was testing the bench qualities of boulders about every 30 feet. And I was carrying nothing. I hope not to do this again for a long time, if ever. But these women, some in their 70s, carry 40-50 lbs of wood on their backs up the escarpment 2-3 times a week. Many women spend 30 hours a week collecting firewood and water. Around that they do all that a woman does to care for her household. This includes cooking over a fire, while I just turn a knob.

You could hardly ask for a more clear illustration of how much Care of Creation is needed, in particular here, for the planting of trees to renew the land and to help people live more productive lives.

On the way home we stopped at a school where one Bethlehem team helped to build a water tank where water is caught from roof rain run-off. Another Bethlehem team built a fence around the tree nursery there–very young saplings that are nurtured by water from the tank. Dozens of fruit trees are ready to be sent home with students who have been instructed how to plant these in their yards. Other types of trees will be suitable to grow for firewood.

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7 Responses to “There Used to Be Trees”

  1. This is really helpful as I read and pray for you. I too have always looked at the environmental concerns as the last on the list – maybe not on the list. But your trip is opening my eyes.

    Thanks for sharing it all.
    Dianne

  2. hi this is teia and briana we really liked your pictures
    we hope God keeps you safe

    ps. we love you

  3. hi talitha we have been praying for you.And we really do miss you.
    And the picture that says no peace and no justice is just so sad.
    love Adelajda

    hi talitha how are you? we have been praying for you.i hope you are having a good time and that you are safe in kenya.

    love <3 raylean

  4. Hi Talitha this is Zury and Lani we hope that you are safe and that you will trust in the lORD We are praying that God will keep you safe while you are in Kenya

    P.s we love you

  5. Your pictures are more than ten thousand words could say! That was quite a downhill trek into the Rift, and the uphill return? It hurts my heart to think of those laboring, laden ladies. Years ago when Julie was in Kenya, she used to say that those African women had “women’s lib” latitude and didn’t even know it! The men just let them “take over” while they just sat around! Love and prayers for you, Talitha and the group– Mother and Grandmother H.

  6. WOW that must have been a lot of work.I have been praying for you at school, church, home, everywhere.I reallt am enjoying the blog keep up the good work. If you could I would appreciate it if you would pray for me.I have a Clover Bowl competition tomorrow.

    Amelia

  7. Thank, so much for your vivid descriptions of Kenya. It gives me much to contemplate and be praying about. Mert Tabbut

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