Africa Memories

Today I am thinking about our friends in Swaziland; a small country in southern Africa.   For eight visits of the last twenty years, I traveled to this small country to help with poverty relief and other tasks.  During my time in Swaziland I encountered beautiful people who love me and love their lives in this poverty stricken country.   I had the opportunity to meet some of my friends in 2016 when they visited our country for the first time in their lives.   It was a wonderful reunion.   We enjoyed a meal together and reminisced of times past.

The game parks I have visited have always been a treat as a part of our visit to southern Africa.   The picture below is a Zentangle representation of Africaafrica.   I hope you enjoy it and if you are interested, a print is available on my web site:

I will always feel a sense of kinship with our friends in Swaziland.   Life is about relationships with others.   I appreciate the relationship I have with individuals in Swaziland and hope to one day return to our friends many miles away.

Growing Food; Giving Life

Life was hard in rural Pitt County, NC when Richard grew up in the 1960’s.    His mother and father were share croppers on a farm just outside Greenville near the road that was called Red Banks.   Before and after school each day Richard had no choice but to help his family of 10 brothers and sisters bring in the harvest.  Summer was the just the same but more hard work.   Unfortunately, the food he and his family harvested never found its way to their own dining room table.   The food they harvested went to others.

Leaving that farm to enlist in the Army, a new military life, was a new beginning that taught him much.    After his tour of duty ended, he found himself in rural eastern NC once again looking at farming.    This time his motivation was due to the need he saw all around.

He became a pastor, among other ministry positions, and noticed that the people with whom he worked were not living much past age 40.    In his first year as pastor of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, he performed 30 funerals.  People died of preventable diseases.  If only they knew of good nutrition and how to plant food; healthy food.   Thus began Richard Joyner’s new life; returning to a life he once despised.  Now with excitement because of the knowledge of farming that his parents once taught him.   In 2007 The Conetoe Family Life Center in Conetoe, NC was begun by Richard and a bunch of children and teenagers.   This center that has made a tremendous impact on the town of Conetoe as well as the surrounding counties of Pitt, Edgecombe, Martin and Nash counties of eastern NC.

Collards are a mainstay in eastern NC.   I made this quick sketch of one of the community members harvesting collards .

collards wtrmked photo1800