(209) 269-8000


11/20: Community Building Project

For some time I have been wanting to find a way to to give some work to the women of the community, with almost no success. Finally something came to me.

The structure of the dam is completed, and the bare slopes of it are very vulnerable to erosion when it rains. Rivulets form and carve their way deeply down the sides. There isn’t time to plant from seed. So I thought about Joyce, something of a matriarch in this area, and always short of money, sometimes seriously so. I proposed an arrangement.

Joyce Heading Home After Our Business Talk

I contracted with Joyce to plant the entire surface of the dam, sides, top and a one meter strip at the top of the interior slope on a 12′ grid, with clumps of grass, dug from the easement between the properties here, and from our own land. Joyce gets the sum agreed upon for the job, and she hires the women she wants. Her agreement with them is her own. Joyce — The Contractor.

Here’s how the process works.

Benson and Gilbert dig the clumps with a jembay (sturdy hoe)

Ester puts them into a wheelbarrow and transports them

to his woman, who separates them into planting size tufts.

The women use a panga (machete) to dig a small hole

and plant the grass

It has to be watered daily if it doesn’t rain. We have two watering cans.

So Gilbert and Benson fill 20 liter gerry cans from the tank, carry them to the dam, and I fill the watering cans.

Joyce likes to toss her bucket down,

she is a knuckle-baller, and I sometimes snatch it out of the air by its spinning handle with something that looks like skill

refill and walk it back up to her.

Today we planted and watered by hand maybe a thousand clumps. And I formed an affection for each of them.

More news on the way soon. Pray for rain, in steady, manageable doses.

Yours for dirty hands and a clean slate,



  1. Peggy says

    Oh my gosh! What a story! Both the tale of it and the photo-story. David, you have outdone yourself in so many ways right here. To have involved so many of the community, helped Joyce, got an important piece of work done, and shown it all to us — I thank you for your work and for letting us in on it so immediately. Thanks, too, to the web team that made it possible.
    Pray for rain everyone!

  2. Marjo says

    I love this story. I feel so honored to be a very small part of this project. I can’t wait to someday see all the places you share with us for myself. My prayers are always with you and RROP. Marjo

  3. Ernie says

    Actually the story is very much David. He has found a niche in which his sense of adventure and compassion blend beautifully and so many benefit. Even we here at home. I use the RROP web site to teach my grandson geography (with globe in hand) and Daves journal ,which I can read to him. ev

Post a comment