Thursday, October 22, 2015

Very Dirty Work

So Kibidula is in the process of selling off the remaining sheep here as the sheep program has been officially closed for many, many months.  ( I don't remember the exact date the decision was made.  It may be a year now.) 
So we have been hauling in loads of sheep to town for market each week.  We are down to about 200 sheep now. 
A load of sheep was ordered to be delivered today.  Doug also needed to go to Iringa to do bank work.  To try to reduce costs, we combined the trips somewhat.  I drove him and the sheep to town.  He then took a bus to Iringa (much cheaper than fuel and mileage costs).  I dropped him at the bus stand first and then headed to the place to unload sheep. 
There were two ladies in the house, and I didn't ask either to help me unload the sheep. 
I backed up the truck, took off the one board, and let down the tailgate.  The sheep had decided the truck seemed like the safest place to be and were not coming out on their own.  This is normal.
I had already moved the one piece of slab board that acts as a gate to the pen area.  I have been involved in sheep unloading before, but I prefer to watch instead of participate for a variety of reasons.  The main one is that I don't like the way I smell afterwards if I help.  It can be stinky work, especially after they have ridden cramped in the truck for about an hour.
Well, today I was alone.  I grabbed one of the sheep by the hind leg and proceeded to coax it out.  Something went wrong.  She came out, but decided the courtyard looked more promising than the pen.  Off she went. 

Courtyard with the gate open

I immediately went to the courtyard gate and closed it so I didn't have sheep running all over town.
Then I tried to encourage the sheep back.  She was not encouraged at all.  Pendo, the young lady of the house helped me encourage her for a while, but again she just wouldn't take our encouragement. 
I went back to the truck and decided to move it a little to improve my chances of success. 
Well, I don't remember the order, but soon there were five sheep in the pen and three running around the courtyard.  Two more to go, and I was determined not to have two more in the courtyard.  I was hoping if I got enough in the pen, the others would miss their friends.  It was number nine's turn.  It wasn't going well.  She thought the other side of the fence looked better.  It would have been funny to watch us, I am sure.  Somehow, I managed to wrestle her back into the pen.  Number ten refused to go in, and that sheep is strong!  I had her a few times and almost lost her completely.  It was a battle of the wills, and I was extremely determined by this point.  I ended up on the ground (in you know what!) but refused to let another sheep in the courtyard.  I was yelling "no, no, no!" and refusing to give up.  I wrestled her back into the pen.  I looked at the three "get-aways" and decided to move the truck to be between them and the watch dog, which was loving all the excitement.  Dina (the lady of the house) was trying to keep the dog quiet at this point.  He wasn't helping, much.  After moving the truck, I went behind the three run-aways and explained to them that the other 7 seemed very content in the pen and perhaps they would like to join them.  (I had been trying to convince them all that the penned in area seemed nice.)  They were hesitant and started to bolt the wrong direction, but finally they started moving very slowly in the right direction.  They got up to a tied-up calf and seemed content there.  No, that wasn't good enough.  More encouragement was needed.  Then it happened.  They were encouraged - FINALLY!  They took off like a lightening bolt headed for the opening in the pen.  One, two, three!  YES!
Inside the pen
  Dina and I closed the slab board fence piece and assessed the damage to my skin and clothes.  Oh, what a mess I was.  My skirt, my new shirt, my feet my hands.  I never did look at my face.  I probably should.  I still needed to do a little work in town, running errands, and now I was covered in POOP!  I was wearing a very light denim skirt and pink shirt!  Poop really shows on such clothes. 
Dina suggested a little soap and water.  We tried to at least reduce the amount on my hands, arms, and shirt.  We were washing my clothes on my body.  We were all three laughing a lot.  My skirt was too much, so I borrowed a kitenge wrap and just covered up my skirt.  Dina thought I looked very Tanzanian then.

They aren't as innocent as they look
1 Peter 2:25  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

I remember praying and asking God for help in unloading the sheep.  I don't know if I was precise enough with my request.  I am certainly thankful for the help in getting them in the pen even if it wasn't the way I had planned.  I got some exercise, and several of us got a good dose of "medicine".  Laughter is good medicine, right?

Oh, and I learned that the sheep don't smell so bad in the dry season.  I am so thankful for that!
So even though I was quite soiled, I didn't smell it.  I hope nobody else did.
I hope that there are days when as Jesus shines through me, my life is fragrant like a nice flower.  But today, I had to settle for something a little less attractive.  I praise the Lord for a good attitude in it all.  It sure did make me wonder if the holy angels ever laugh.

 I know we did!  God is faithful, and He knows what trials I need in my life to "clean me up" inside and out.  I am trusting Him.  I also learned, some things require more than one person - like delivering sheep.  Truly - TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE!  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Okay.  I had better go check my soaking clothes.  One just never knows what the day will hold. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your story, it was good medicine for me! I think Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is probably still grinning as he is sitting there at the right-hand of the Father, advocating for us, his precious (but dumb) sheep...who need a lot of encouragement at times to proceed in the right direction! Love you!

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  3. Ps. My dad says the black faced ones are the orneriest!

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  5. Sounds like you guys have no end of fun and challenges! God bless.

  6. Sounds like you guys have no end of fun and challenges! God bless.