Friday, February 22, 2008

One Day in the Life

One Day in the Life

If you were to visit Kafakumba Training Center and Development Project for just one day here is what I would show you:

First, you would meet John and Kendra Enright. Without their leadership and vision none of these dreams could happen. John was born in Africa and has lived here all of his life, except for the college years spent getting one Bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees. Kendra is a Hoosier, a Bachelor degreed nurse, who has lived in Africa the many years of their marriage. Their two grown sons, Brian and Nathan, also make their home here. You would certainly be invited to share a cup of tea with them, and you would be reluctant to pull away from the intensity of the vision they cast.

You would hear the constant sound of a huge wood planer and so your first visit would be to the next-door shops of Ukupanga Timber. Here you would see many Africans at work in the saw mill and in the shops making doors, windows, ceilings, or decking and flooring. Ukapanga Timber is a major economic development project of Kafakumba.

You would see women carrying large loads on their heads as they head off to market. The bright yellow “Banana Pops” building bustles every morning as these women load up on bananas and make their way to markets throughout the region, including southern Congo. Behind the sales is the serious business of growing bananas, an exacting science of cultivation, planting, irrigation, and ripening.

You would hear the sound of construction and so you must walk and observe the buildings going up around the Training Center. Normally the Training Center is in use every day of the year; however, because of the construction that must be completed before this year’s Pastor’s School, conferences are suspended until current phase construction is completed. First there is another dormitory to hold those who come for Pastor’s School and other conferences throughout the year. Its walls are now up and ready for trusses. There is the fledgling Women’s Center foundation going in, the third Guest House walls quickly climbing, plaster going on the Children’s Center, and a home separate from the Kafakumba offices being built for John and Kendra (it has to be difficult living in the middle of all this commotion). When all these buildings are done, there will certainly be the start of more—more guesthouses/dorms, a dining hall, more space for this dream called Kafakumba.

As you walk, you will see fields of aloe vera in their orderly rows of succulency. They are a beautiful, tidy, rather small plant with a big future. Their juice strengthens immune systems and is sold before it is barely ready. If ever there is a lessened need for its health properties, it can be sold for use in cosmetics and lotions.

Cross the road and you will find much more agricultural enterprise at work. Here you will smell chicken manure—valuable fertilizer for fields and fish ponds. Chickens are thriving here, growing quickly and selling as soon as they are mature. Their profits are helping to establish a herd of cattle, primarily Brahmin. The cattle will provide profit to be shared with the Franciscan sisters and food for their huge community feeding programs. Turn around from the chickens and you will see fish ponds. These teeming Tilapia will sell and profits will be shared with Kafakumba for continued mission projects. All are cared for by African overseers and laborers. You will hear another saw mill at work here providing lumber for the wood business. You will see bee hives stacked and ready for placement.

I will take you on down the road a few miles and you will find another woodworking business. This group makes foldable patio chairs from beautiful local lumber. They are also expanding into patio tables. Two men are also busy making swarm boxes and bee hives. A prototype bunkbed is ready for production for the new dormitory. Profits from the chair factory will also be divided with the Franciscan Sisters for their work in feeding orphans and caring for disabled children.

We will drive around the Copper Belt and you will hear about more plans—plans for more partnerships--perhaps in sawmills, fish ponds, cattle, chicken, crops, Palm Oil, circular irrigation systems, macadamia nuts, retail, eateries, and more. By now, your head would be swimming with all of the possibilities that are Kafakumba. If you haven’t caught the vision of abundance yet, you would at least know that something very special is happening here. Although the business development is easy to see, it’s relationship to building community, providing ministry, being the Church, is also obvious. You will leave Kafakumba and remember the sounds of people at work and worship; the smell of chickens; the sight of aloe vera and friendly smiles; the taste of honey and bananas. You will remember the warmth of the African sun and the sense of community. In the remembering you will know that this is the Church at work.

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