Saturday, February 23, 2013

Running out of food

Ok, so we didn't really run out of food. We just ran out of all of our fun American food. We had no snack foods or complex carbohydrates (except rice). We also had no cheese. So, everyday we ate some combination of meat, rice, and food from our garden. And when the chopper landed on the 13th, we all pretty much looked like this with the food that came in...

I never gardened before I came to Hewa, and honestly thought I would not like it. Having to know when to plant what during which season really overwhelmed me, but when you live in the tropics there are only two seasons- rainy and not as rainy so you can pretty much plant anytime.
And sometimes when I  "planted" I simply threw seeds out in my yard. I planted pumpkin, cucumber, lima beans, black beans, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and papaya. But my greatest accomplishment was watermelons. I ended up with 27 watermelons growing before we left. We even ate some before they were ripe, because we were so hungry for fruit (our village is new, so there is not a lot of fruit because most fruit trees take years to grow).

on the way to plant sweet potato leaves

eating our unripe watermelon

Gardening here does require some hard work, though. You have to do some serious land clearing before you can plant, and there is constant weeding to be done. The jungle will easily take over your garden if you let it!

clearing some land for planting

Most of what we ate came from what my coworker planted for me months before we moved in. If she hadn't done that, who knows what we would have done! We ate greens, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes from the garden she previously planted for us. We even tried cooking the sweet potatoes in the traditional Hewa way of burying in the ashes of the fire and then eating. It looks weird, but it is actually really good!

cooking sweet potatoes in the ashes

ready to eat

picking greens for dinner
And while I still prefer to just open my freezer and pull out a bag of green beans, gardening helps me to learn the Hewa language and culture a little better, and helps me relate to the ladies that I am trying to build relationships with. Plus, there is the added bonus of finding food in your own backyard when you can't find any in your pantry!


  1. Thank you for all of your posts! You present such a complete and honest picture of what it REALLY means to be a tribal missionary - the good, the bad and the ugly! I love how your posts cover everything from funny and frustrating stories of raising chickens, to the struggles you face ministering to people in a completely different culture. I enjoy your blog so much!

  2. Thanks, Shannon! I have really enjoyed writing it and sharing all about this crazy life God has called us to! It seems like it is the little things that catch me off guard sometimes and make me think, "what am I doing here" most, so I feel like it is just as important to include those things!

  3. I enjoy reading your blog too! Every since my mom showed me your blog, I've been hooked. Your life is so interesting and inspiring. =)