Update on Palmgrove
Written by: The Bridge on Saturday, April 15th, 2006
First of all, I want to say thank you to all who are leaving comments. I download the pages to USB, then take them back home so that the rest of us can read them on the laptop. It’s a pleasant surprise to see the variety of people who are responding, and it also gives me an idea as to what to post the next time.
The brothers and sisters here in Palmgrove are very similar to what we have back in North America. Some are genuine, and are giving their best to keep this place going, but there are also others, who’s motives seem questionable. As I said, it’s not unlike that of any community that I’ve seen back home. Some of them work very hard at what they do, all day long, while others need to be prompted all the way.
We had a meeting with all the people in Palmgrove, trying to figure out what to do about the current situation. We also tried to get some answers to the many questions that still remain unanswered.Â One of the problems that I will take the time to mention, is that the church should be more careful as to who they send over to help out. Palmgrove needs people who want to help; people who are capable leaders; not people who can’t even take care of their own lives. (Please note that was a paraphrase and it’s also written in the plural form.) There seem to be too many people sent over, who somehow “need a change”, or some strange reason like that. We are unwilling to let people go, that really make a difference in a community, the sacrifice is too big, so we sent someone else who is leftover. We discussed many other problems, but that is the one problem, where we, as the Hutterian Church in North America, could make the most difference.
It’s going to take some doing to get things into reasonable shape again. Things would be a lot easier if we would be able to start from zero, but the more we look, the more debts we find that were left behind! Also, take for example, food for the community. We only have two meals a day, breakfast and dinner, or maybe a early supper. We are undecided, as of yet, what would be best in that situation. One thing that really needs changing, is the food quality. Some meals are very good, but for breakfasts, three days of the week, we only have a chunk of bread, white bread on top of it, and a cup of tea with cream and sugar. That’s about the cheapest way to feed people and since the money for food in the community kitchen never seemed to be much priority the last few years, that’s what they have had to resort to. That hardly lasts till dinner and it’s not a healthy way to eat on top of it all! We also attend the meals in the kitchen, which is something that wasn’t practiced lately. I can’t quite understand all the fuss that people make who have been here, I thought that the food might not be very good to us white people; but the true Nigerian dishes that they sometimes prepare in the kitchen are very good, unlike the white men’s bread! Some of the dishes do take some getting used to, so it’s a simple matter of not eating to much and eating a few bananas afterwards.
Just for an example of what we sometimes run into, one day we were driving to town with one of the boys; I don’t remember his name. We stopped to buy some yam. He started talking with the seller, they switch into their own language very quickly, so we didn’t understand a word. Their conversation got quite animated, which is not unusual around here. Afterwards we asked him what it was all about. He said the seller was being very dishonest, so our driver told him he would smash in his teeth next time! We replied, “What! You told us that you had three Bibles and now you want to hurt the other guy. Doesn’t the Bible tell us to turn the other cheek and whenever possible to live peaceable with all man? How can you now say this to him?” Somehow, he thought that was from the old testament instead of the new. I think he was making a lame excuse. We corrected him and told him there is a better way to live then that. It’s a very difficult concept to teach at home, let alone in a culture like this!
So far we are all doing fine. The electricity was cut off because we can’t pay the bill. We have 3 hours of generator in the evening, every day, so that isn’t too bad. Our phone battery doesn’t last too long, so we are trying to rig up a solar panel on the roof so that we can charge it. We have been cut of a few times in the middle of a conversation because the battery went dead. One step at a time.