REACH intern: Goats, wells and irrigated farms in Turkana, Kenya
“A few weeks ago, I woke up to find two goats staring me in the face,” said REACH intern Luke Floyd. And that was just the first of many adventures for Luke, as he spent June and July in the desert of Turkana, Kenya.
Luke had spent the night at the home of his language helper, Dismus, sleeping outside on mats as most people do in Turkana. The goats scrambled off as Luke watched the village slowly wake up. Shepherd boys took their family’s goats out to graze and mothers boiled water for the morning chai tea. And Luke put on his sandals and followed Dismus on the trek across town to work.
Luke and his teammates spent their first days in Nakor, learning the language and culture of Turkana. Then they were invited to a ceremonial goat roast.
“With our minimal knowledge of the language, we managed to buy a goat in the market,” said Luke. “It was butchered that afternoon and the whole goat was put on the fire. The meat was passed around as it was fully cooked, until the entire goat was consumed.”
In the following weeks, Luke and Ethan Noden, another REACH intern and engineering student, were sent out with the local drill team.
“CMF oversees the clean water well project, and although it was started by missionaries, it’s now run entirely by Turkana believers,” said Luke.
The first week, Luke and Ethan stayed in the village of Kangagetei and camped in the desert.
“The well is dug using a hand drill that two people crank,” he said. “Once the drill bit is full of dirt, the team pulls it up, empties it and keeps going. It’s very tiring work so the drilling is done in shifts. If we hit rock or hard clay, the hole has to be abandoned and a new one dug.
“Thankfully, we completed the dig with no problems, and the people of the community immediately began filling up their jugs with clean water,” he added. “It was really a joy to see the work I’d done have such a tangible impact.”
Farms and irrigation
Luke then went out into the bush to work with the farm team.
“The CMF farm project aims to provide a stable source of food and income for communities around Turkana,” said Luke. “Agriculture is rare here, partially because water is so scarce, and people aren’t used to farming as a way of life.”
The farms are fed by the drill team and water is run to the irrigation beds by submersible pumps. Since the arms require a constant flow of water, the pumps are electric, powered by solar panels.
“In the week that I worked on the farms, I helped weld solar panel stands, install pumps and wire the whole rig to get water flowing,” said Luke. “I even did some planting of crops.”
Throughout his internship Luke was encouraged by Jesus’ parable of the Kingdom of God in Mark 4:26.
“A farmer sows seeds but has no power to make them grow,” he said. “The seeds still sprout and produce a harvest. I see myself in the farmer. I can do things like scattering seeds or installing well pumps, but only God has the power to take what I do here and use it to advance His Kingdom.”
Top photo: The REACH interns who served in Turkana, Kenya, pose with their host families: Joel and Rachel Williams and Eric and Cait Pitts.