Two of the biggest suitcases that our Sulphur Springs Church mission team schlepped to Kenya were full of rolls of welded wire, generously donated by a friend of Chuck's, to make rabbit hutches.
Apparently that type of wire is not available in Kenya. Rabbits are raised in fenced pens on the ground.
Which makes them easy pickings for mongoose (mongooses?? mongeese???) and other critters that are pert-near impossible to fence out.
So we brought our own wire and supplies, and the men spent the first couple of days building two American-style rabbit hutches, each with 3 cages.
Finished and ready to hang!
Dave had just the place for them...over a covered compost pile behind the greenhouses. The rabbit droppings could conveniently add to the compost!
The guys suspended them under the roof, one on each side.
Bring on the bunnies! They had bunny-shopped at a place John (Dave's property manager) knew about a few days before, but the rabbits there were not healthy-looking and their living conditions were...well, definitely would not meet US PETA standards.
To be honest, most of the Kenyan family dwellings would not meet US PETA standards.....
But these rabbits came from a nearby children's home (we did a medical clinic there later) and seemed fairly healthy.
Three brown females and one white/gray buck.
They seem quite happy in their new digs.
Ethan and Selah named the 3 girls Domino, Sniff, and Pokey...
...and this boy is named Abednego.
Soon after we left, one of the females gave birth to 7 babies. They will be a great protein source for the babies at the Center!
The other BIG project on the property was cleaning out the tilapia ponds.
Just before we arrived, there had been major rainfalls leading to terrible flooding over the entire property. The ponds overflowed leaving many fish stranded all over the property, and the flooding caused mud to fill the pond.
I'm not exaggerating when I say there was a good 12-18" of dead-fish-smelling muck in the bottom of the two connecting ponds.
As one pond drained, they used nets to catch fish and transfer them into the other pond. Thankfully, lots of mature fish had been harvested just before the flooding, but "we" (I use that term loosely here, referring to the team...I myself did not participate...someone has to photographically document and provide encouragement....) still caught and moved over 1000 fish.
Twice. After one side was clean and refilled, the fish had to be caught again and moved back into the clean side.
There is a bit of tricky technique involved and a definite learning curve. You have to hold the edge of the net with your mouth (lost me right there!) and then use your two hands to toss the net way out into the middle of the pond.
If you do it just right, the net will spread out and fall into the middle of the pond over, hopefully, a bunch of fish...
...then you pull the net closed and pull it out of the water full of fish. Nice net nab, Zach!
A stinky, nasty job! NO, I do NOT want a kiss right now!!!
Selah helped keep track of the number of fish caught. This girl's no fool...she picked the easy job!
Angie was a good sport and wanted to try her hand at it.
Not me. I'll take the pictures, thank-you-very-much....
I don't think her net actually made it into the water, but it was a valiant attempt!
She did much better fishing them out with a handheld net.
Duke supervised the silly humans...wonder what he is thinking....
As the water level got lower, it was impossible to toss the nets out far enough and they used the pole net to gather up as many fish as they could.
Kim is used to cleaning nasty ponds and Chuck has plenty of experience with stuff like this too, but Zach was a little out of his element but rose to the occasion. I love his quote: "You just have to embrace the filth. Then it's not so bad." I'll try to remember that advice....and hope I NEVER have to use it!
Eventually it came down to shoveling the slimy nastiness into buckets...
...and hauling them out to be dumped.
We did have a few amusing incidents along the way to keep the morale up...
Eventually, the enormous job was finished...
...and the pond was refilled with clean water.
That is a job I'm quite sure Dave never wants to repeat...but I'm so glad our team was there at the right time to help him do it!
We also completed a few random smaller jobs around the MpM property.
Angie mowed the play yard at the infant rescue center....
...and Kim weeded some of the flower beds.
Kim did some tree trimming (right up his alley)...
...and Chuck picked up those thorny acacia limbs.
We also built a 50' privacy fence along the back side of the property, behind the rabbit hutches. The fence serves double-duty...protecting the rabbits from wind and rain, and also...
...to block the view of the curious, inquiring eyes of the Maasai cowherders on the other side of the fence.
Much of the fenceline is already covered with bougainvillea vines.
See, I DID help!!!
As you can see, our team was very busy and we earned our good nights' sleep each day!
So blessed to get to be servants' hands at Mahali pa Maisha, helping with...