Time seems to be unusually short here at ECHO right now, which means that a lot has been happening. Here are some highlights...
In January we had a number of sub-freezing nights, which for our farm is pretty bad news. Here in North Fort Myers we are technically a sub-tropical environment, but many of our trees are native to very tropical areas. Our distance from the equator means that any temperature below about 30 degrees F is potentially devastating for many of our plants (mangoes, avocadoes, lychees, longans, etc.). Of course, the tomatoes don't care for freezing temperatures either (this is veggie season here, you recall).
Each night there was a freeze, interns stay up in shifts, monitoring thermometers around the campus. When temperatures plummet, we turn on overhead sprinklers and coat every plant in a thick layer of ice. For scientific reasons that completely evade me (even after explanation), constantly freezing a plant keeps the temperature constant, and so protects it from the sub-freezing air. A lot of things still died, but the farm looked pretty cool in the morning!
For one week earlier this month, all the interns participated in something called the "Farm Challenge," which means we were only allowed to eat food off of the farm (plus water, salt, and oil). Consequently, eating became a much more premeditated act. Veggies were harvested daily, corn was ground for cornmeal, and people got unusually creative with their recipes.
In the end, we all ate pretty well. Here's an example of some of our meals...
Goat meat, dry rubbed with citrus, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Goat and Rabbit sausage on a bed of cooked greens and onions. Rice with ginger stir-fried brocolli, sugar peas, green beans and carrots. Fried green tomatoes. Corn bread with farm honey, peanut butter or molasses. Fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade. Ginger, lemon, and honey tea. Mmm.
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings this month I have been on Tech Request, which means I joined the team of staff responsible for answering technical questions sent to ECHO from missionaries and development workers in the field. In addition to being a good deal of fun, being on Tech Request was a great opportunity to become more involved with ECHO's international ministry. The questions are varied and often unusual. What are some potential forages for horses in Haiti? What is the best way to germinate Dragon Fruit seeds? Is it possible to feed rabbits (for meat) completely off of foraged greens? If I build a tree house in my Jackfruit tree, will the tree survive???
Being on Tech Request has helped to remind me of why I am here to begin with (and what ECHO exists for). I find it all too easy to become caught up in the busy schedule of plantings and trainings, and forget the overarching mission.
Pray that God would make me passionate about the things that He is passionate about, and that he would teach me to listen for his guidance over and above my own. I think I have a lot of weaknesses for his strength to be made perfect in.