In the area of Kenya where the Sangs are serving, the major cash crop is tea. The tea fields spread for miles and miles like vibrant green rugs laid out across an already green landscape. All along the roads you will find buying centers where the harvesters bring their heavy sacks of tea leaves at day’s end and sell them to representatives of the tea factories. This bountiful crop is what keeps many Kenyans going.
The Lifeway Academy, like many homes, churches and businesses, is situated in the midst of these tea fields, their boundaries meeting and nearly overlapping, as if there was no boundary at all.
One morning, I heard voices outside the house around 6:30. We’d had guests the night before that had slept over and I thought it was them at first, but then I realized there were too many. Soon I heard whistling. The same tune over and over, very happy and very rhythmic. I looked out the window to see the neighboring tea field full of harvesters. One man, who picked very fast, but almost always missed the basket he was throwing the leaves into, was whistling this merry tune. He whistled still as I went to breakfast and when I came back from breakfast. When I went to the school he was whistling and when I came down with the children for porridge he was whistling. He was whistling at lunch and whistling at days end. His fingers flew across the tops of the tea bushes, plucking just the top two leaves off of each branch. In his wake, he left a row as cleanly harvested as a master gardener manicures a row of shrubs. His happy tune never changed.
You can find a short video of this happy tea-picker and other Kenya photos on my (Rachel Miller, Billings, MT) Facebook page. See you there!