Old McMaynard Had a Shamba

Old McMaynard Had a Shamba

A lot has happened since we first arrived in Africa!  Every day brings new experiences, lots of laughs, and crazy stories. Pole Pole (pronounced poe lee-poe lee – means slowly) we are learning our surroundings and we are thankful for the wonderful people we are surrounded by who make it easy for us.

We have diligently been working on the shamba (farm) to improve what they currently have and make plans for future expansion.

One of the first changes we made was to the laying hens nyumbani (new-m-bah-nee – home).  They had a 100 hens in a large room with no where to roost and around 8-10 laying boxes on the ground.

We quickly added branches for them to roost on:


And then set to work on building new laying boxes – ones that were off the ground – and lots of them.  Hens need 1 laying box per 4-6 hens. IMG_8593 IMG_8591


We then filled the boxes with shavings and golf balls.  The locals thought we were kicha (kee-cha – crazy) but the next morning when they had doubled production… we weren’t so crazy any more.  😉


While there are still things we are learning and teaching with the layeres (like crushing up eggshells for the chickens to eat) we then moved to the garden.

The short rains have now begun and we had lots we wanted to plant before they started.  Some of the things we are planting are experiments to see how well they grow before we plant for the long rains (Mar-May).

We were all celebrating when Healing Hands Int. came in and finished the drip irrigation on our 1-acre plot.  We are only using 6 rows for the short rains (we have a cut off in the waterline there) because the short rains do not produce enough rain for an acre plot.  We would have to supplement too much water and it would be too costly.

Here are pictures of us putting in the drip irrigation and planting beans in the 6 rows!


IMG_8820 (1)IMG_8909IMG_8903

And then this week we were able to plant some Napier grass!

12243319_415454161991780_2264600985764184607_n 12243127_415454178658445_35186816542137051_n 12241772_415454101991786_2966955877603288523_n 12196141_1666138670309896_4155331376936167156_n

This is a big deal for a few reasons.  We have moved to the ng’ombe (cows) and trying to improve their production.  We met with a man in Monduli two weeks ago who really helped us a lot.


He raises dairy cattle and showed us his shamba.  He explained what he does, what he would do if he could, and gave us material to read.  This man even uses the manure from the cows to make natural gas to use in his kitchen.  He was a huge resource.  We have also been watching some videos on youtube called Shamba Shapeup.  They are in English and Swahili.  These videos have been a huge asset because it takes the knowledge we gained in America and transfers it over to Africa using the resources available here.  Seriously, give them a look and you will get a better understanding for how things work here.

One thing this man and the videos keeps stressing is that, here, napier grass is what we need to be feeding the dairy cattle.  And, this man and the videos, also stress that it is the best to make silage out of.  So… we planted some napier grass thanks to a new friend of Justin’s, the local vet.  He brought it to us yesterday and we quickly got it planted.

Every day is something new and we are quickly adapting.  There are lots of ways for us to expand and so many opportunities here.

With all of the positives there are negatives also.  Tuesday Justin received a call early in the morning that he was needed at the school.  Long story short, someone forgot to lock the door to the laying hens house.  The night guard forgot to check before he let the guard dogs out for the night.  (The guard dogs are a huge necessity here to the safety of our animals) So, Justin arrived to find 20 of our laying hens eaten by the dogs.  5 more had to be slaughtered later that day due to injuries.  I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a huge setback.  We have been paying for everything we have been doing for the farm since we arrived (buying feed, buying seed, buying medicine for the animals, purchasing new broilers every so many weeks, etc.) off the eggs we sell.  Losing 175 eggs a week is a big deal.  Not to mention they can’t just be replaced.  We would need to build an area to grow out more layers and then it would be 6 months before they start laying again.  So, for the moment we are going to carry on with the current 75.  There are plans to expand both the layers and broilers drastically so we will just be thankful that we only lost 25.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers on our behalf.  We truly love it here and the Lord is doing great things.  If you would like to help our efforts here financially here is where you can send funds:

Make the checks payable to Horton’s Chapel COC

Horton Chapel Church of Christ

925 Union Ridge Road

PO BOX 1100

Belton, KY 42324


But most of all please just keep us in your prayers, this work, and these wonderful people.


Comments are closed.