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As Paul Harvey Would Say....the Rest Of The Story


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#1 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 10:26 PM

I've grown accustomed to not putting all my information out, but this has been a welcoming site, so I share some, though not all of my background. The short version is, my parents went overseas to Zambia as Southern Baptist Missionaries when I was about 8 years old. Dad was an "Agricultural missionary" who managed a 3000 acre farm/ranch for the Zambian Mission from 1972 til 1998 when he retired. The farm was originally a grant from the British government to Malcom Moffat (related to Mary Moffat, wife to David Livingstone). Upon Malcom Moffat's death in 1934 the "lease" to the farm passed to his heirs, who weren't quite sure what to do with it. Around 1969, his heirs offered the farm to the Southern Baptist mission in Zambia, with two stipulations: 1) it was to be used as a Christian ministry; 2) The family graveyard was to remain open to the family for use and visitation. Dad was chosen to manage the farm in 1971, so after a 3 month orientation, off we went in early 1972.

Edited by HowardsMF155, September 04, 2012 - 10:27 PM.

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#2 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 10:27 PM

During the 27 years of service, Dad carved a farm out of wilderness, putting nearly 200 acres of land into production. He worked to identify potential cash crops such as coffee or wheat, raised a HUGE variety of produce ( all citrus fruits, pineapple, apple, mango, loquat, all vegetables, strawberries) plus became a major egg supplier, ran a small dairy. He further worked to spread agricultural knowledge to the local people, illustrating the effects of various practices on crop production ( lack of fertilizer, lack of weed control, etc.) Along with the dairy, he worked to train oxen for use in the local area. He ran a corn milling operation, offered some metal repair services, and would rent a tractor with driver and plow to the local villages during the planting season.
Dad was also successful as a missionary. Step by step, churches were established, leaders were found and trained, and new churches were started. By the end of his time in Zambia, he had started nearly 80 churches in and around the Serenje area. In later years, if there was no vehicle access, then he would have the local people widen their local path to whatever "main" (dirt) road they used, then he would use tractors, plows, and a grader to construct a road. The farthest I ever knew of him going to a "local" church was four hours away.
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#3 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 10:28 PM


THE CALL OF AFRICA

When you've acquired a taste for dust,
The scent of our first rain,
You're hooked for life on Africa
And you'll not be right again
Till you can watch the setting moon
And hear the jackals bark
And know that they're around you,
Waiting in the dark.

When you long to see the elephants.
Or to hear the coucal's song,
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire,
You've been away too long
It's time to cut the traces loose
And let your heart go free
Beyond that far horizon,
Where your spirit yearns to be.

Africa is waiting - come!
Since you've touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass,
The wild fish-eagles cry.
You'll always hunger for the bush,
For the lion's rasping roar,
To camp at last beneath the stars
And to be at peace once more.



C. EMILY-DIBB

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#4 sacsr OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 10:34 PM

Howard thanks for sharing! He was obviously a very gifted man who used his talents wisely!
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#5 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 10:37 PM

Funny what you find on the internet. I knew that after Dad's retirement the Mission transferred ownership to a local group, but I wasn't sure exactly what they did with it. Here is a write up I found:
http://www.openafric...pant/Kalwa-Farm

I can confirm that the house is indeed the house Dad renovated and that we lived in for so many years.

Hah! Just looked up Chipota falls and it is indeed located nearby......and I don't think we ever knew it! Oh well, we had our own falls to play in.
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#6 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 10:50 PM

Howard, Thank you so much for sharing some of your life with us. I was very happy to read about your up bringing and to only guess at all the souls saved by your Father and family. I was very touched by this. Again, Thank You !!!
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#7 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 11:01 PM

KalwaProject_1.jpg
Ok, found more images on the net. I won't swear that the above is us, but this IS how we obtained brick for building projects around the farm. We hired a "contractor" who located a suitable source of clay on the property, dug it, molded it, and then fired it. Very interesting stuff to see first hand.
Serenje Kalwa 1.jpg
This shot ( not mine) is taken from inside our original tractor shed, and shows in the background the "barn" we put in later to house the combine and get some of the other implements out of the weather.
Serenje Kalwa 2.jpg
This shot is identified by someone else as being at Kalwa and does look familiar. I haven't visited in over 15 years.
Serenje Kalwa 3.jpg
Here is another shot of the house I grew up in.
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#8 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 11:28 PM

Just looked at that last shot and saw the water running in the foreground. I had forgotten that an irrigation ditch ran through there. About the farming, obviously I listed a number of crops in earlier posts. The climate is interesting. First, the farm is south of the equator. That means our winter ran from late May to September. We were about 5000 ft up, so it wasn't as warm as you might think. Frost was rare, but did happen once every couple of years. Mostly, though, the cold season was cloudy, gray, and cool enough you wanted a jacket. Guess what Mom and Dad DIDN'T pack when they first left the states? Temperatures climbed through October, occasionally reaching 95 F. Now, Zambia has a very pronounced wet and dry season, and the last rains would fall sometime in Late April or May. By the end of October, everything has dried out and become very flammable. About this time, the local peoples would begin to purposely set fires. On a warm November evening, we could look across to our river valley and watch the fires crawl across the hillsides. Sometime in early December, the first rain falls and washes away the dust and ash. Whatever had not been plowed or readied for planting suddenly became a priority, because the true rains would start soon. Optimum corn planting time usually fell in the week before Christmas. I spent more than one Christmas eve planting corn. And such TALL corn! Rains would continue to fall until Late April or May, and that was when we planted everything that we couldn't irrigate which was mostly corn and soybeans.
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#9 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 11:37 PM

I see I let myself wander a bit off topic. Ok, irrigation ditches. Malcom Moffat put in an irrigation ditch that led from a stream on the property past the "top" of the house. If you've never seen one, it's hard to fathom. Basically, the stream "falls" faster than the irrigation ditch does, so when you just look at it, it looks like the ditch is actually climbing "UP" out of the river valley. With a source of water, Dad could irrigate and grow a number of crops year round. May through September was the perfect time to grow cool season vegetables, and once it warmed up virtually anything could be grown. For me, of course, those were the perfect places to wade in, build boats for, and build dams across.
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#10 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2012 - 12:10 AM

Time for Mom to get a bit of the spotlight. She was truly the lady of the house. Her "kingdom" was the care and feeding and education of the family. Feeding alone would cause a lot of people to panic. While the nearby "town" had some supplies, they were VERY basic and usually rather scarce. Read my story about diesel scarcity here:http://gardentractor...neat-impliment/
I've already mentioned that we supplied our own eggs. Basics like flour, sugar, and a host of other things I can't name were ususally purchased in the capital, about 6 hours away. Mom ended up having a pantry that was bigger than my bedroom! Want a sandwich? Mom had to make the bread from scratch, but we could get Peanut butter and jelly. Spam in a can would provide the meat, if you wanted a meat sandwich. Biscuits, cornbread, cake, frosting and cookies, all baked from scratch. Of course, living on a farm in such a mild climate, with access to crops pretty much year round helped a lot. For years she cooked all our meals on a wood burning stove. We never slaughtered our own beef, but we did have some connections with some farmers who did. So every few months, Dad would return from a trip with half a cow, or half a pig, and we would spend the following day carving the carcass into steaks, and roasts, and ribs, and hamburger or sausage. We used a hand grinder for many years.
Education was another task she had to tackle. Three kids when they left the states, and another little tagalong in '74. Mom had to administer lessons as outlined in the Calvert Correspondence school. She would teach for 20 days, then there was a test which had to be written down and airmailed back to the states to be graded and become part of our official school record. At that time, in that part of the world, "airmail" took a minimum of 6 weeks round trip, and 8 weeks was more likely.
Mom was a registered nurse before we went overseas, and it wasn't long before she started running a very small clinic. Every morning, shortly before the work bell rang at 8:00, she would see people who lined up at the back door. Malaria was a common malady, she would dispense the proper pills with instructions to return if needed. Cuts were cleaned out with "Dettol", a local germ killer that did a pretty good job. Used it on the people, the cows, and the dogs as needed LOL. Major problems were referred to the clinic in town, ( over 1/2 hour away by "motocar", longer on foot.) Those being referred to the clinic were given first seating if Dad was taking the truck to town. If the case was bad enough, we would make a special run.
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#11 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2012 - 12:44 AM

Eventually, word got out that we would take severely ill people to the hospital. I don't think Dad ever refused to make a midnight run, but he made it very clear that if you thought you were sick, you really needed to send word while it was still light out. Things still happen though, and tragedy can strike fast. The last trip I made, in 1996, I ended up spending one night alone at the house. Sometime after midnight, there was a knocking at the door and the night watchman informed me that a little girl was sick back in the bush. I knew Dad had a driver on payroll that he trusted to drive the truck, and I certainly didn't know the way to the village. I sent for the driver, told him to get the girl and take her to the clinic, and went back to bed. About 5 o'clock I heard an engine revving, but thought little of it, other than it had taken the driver a very long time to get the girl and return. Then another knock at the door around 6:00, just as the sky was turning gray, and I thought he told me that someone else was sick. Then the story changed as I realized that the truck had not returned to the house yet. It turned out that the truck was stuck back in the bush and I needed to go pull it out. I grabbed the keys to the tractor and some chains and went in search of the truck. I don't think it took me 20 minutes to reach the truck, and less time than that to pull it out. We got back to the house, and it turned out that yes, someone else needed to go to the hospital. I wish the story ended here, but it doesn't. That little girl was dead. She was related to a leader in the local church. I still remember his grief as he carried her body away from the house.
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#12 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2012 - 02:56 AM

Howard, thank you for sharing these memories with us.

#13 jms180 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2012 - 04:55 AM

Thanks for sharing i enjoyed reading every word.

#14 achomesteader OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2012 - 05:07 AM

Very interesting story Howard! Thanks!

#15 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2012 - 05:50 AM

Howard thanks for sharing your family story with us . Compared to you I had a pretty boring life , lol , Al




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