West Africa

                       06 Dec 2007

I am Robert’ (RoBAY). Welcome to my village of Dantomba where I was born and where I have lived all of my life. I own several rice fields and coffee trees located on the slopes of the mountains. Today I will take you to one of my rice fields.

The field that I will take you to is about a two-hour walk from Dantomba. We first walk through the village of Bomba (BOHM-ba) and continue walking to the next village where we turn toward this mountain and a narrow dirt road. We walk past coffee trees and cocoa trees and finally arrive at an opening in the high grass that will lead to the rice field. We must walk this path for about ½ mile to get to the field.

It is good that one of the women’s work groups chose to harvest my rice field today since the rice stalks are getting heavy. The work groups are important in a Toura village because you need the help of your neighbors to get your crops in. You also must help your neighbor or you’ll both starve because they won't have enough help and then they won't help you.

This is our rest camp. The rice that my daughters are preparing will be ready for the noon meal.

The fields are not far from here. As I arrive, the workers greet me.

One of my wives is picking rice stalks with the other women. Many years ago she helped organize this work group of about 20 women from our village.

This field is in its second year and the soil is getting weak. A work group made up of men will clear a field across the mountain for a new rice crop next year. They do this heavy work after the harvest is completed.

My family usually takes care of keeping the tall grass from crowding the rice plants but they have not had the time to get into this rice field so you see there are weeds growing tall.

Notice how the women carefully pick each stem of rice to make sure that none of the kernels are lost.

One of my wives gleans the field for the rice stalks that were left. She has painted her face because she is happy.

The older children take handfuls of the rice stalks to a pile where my son ties them in bundles. The stalks are cut off to reduce the weight.

The rice is ready for the noon meal. The work group will come here to eat and rest for about an hour before returning to the field.

The work group will be able to harvest this field in one day and then they will go to my friend

Lambert’s (LamBAYs) rice field tomorrow. LamBAY’s wives and daughters will be responsible for preparing the rice for the mid-day meal.

After completing the day’s harvest, the rice is carried back to our village.

When we finally carry all of the rice to the village, the women spread it in the sun to dry for a couple of days. After removing the stalks, the rice is heated in the pots for about an hour. The hulls come off easier after the rice has been carefully dried in this manner.

The women pound the hulls off in the big wooden pots made from tree trunks. After this process, the hulls can be winnowed away.

The rice is then ready for us to prepare a meal and enjoy this harvest.

When this harvest is finally completed, members of the work group receive a share of the crop.

The rice harvest is the most important time of the year. The time we are finally sure that we will not go hungry in the days ahead.

When the harvest is completed, the work group pools some of their money to buy matching "uniforms". They don these new clothes and dance through the village to celebrate the completion of the harvest.


…PRAY for Steve and Susan as they share Jesus with Robert’ (RoBAY), his wives and his family. … PRAY that the members of the work group will someday sing about Jesus as they harvest the rice. …PRAY for the Toura … PRAY for the men, women, and children of Dantomba … PRAY for those who yearn to please God but don’t know how to reach Him. … PRAY for the Christians in Dantomba that they will learn to tell the story of God’s plan. … PRAISE God for sending Steve and Susan to Dantomba and PRAY for wisdom in how to clearly tell the people of Dantomba about Jesus.


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