Hooray for Caterpillars!
Missionaries to the Congo
Update from Glen & Rita Chapman (SCFBC special interest missionaries to the Congo)
These are exciting days at Kikongo. So exciting, in fact, that both students and teachers are willfully abandoning their classes to hurry out to the grasslands as early as 3:00 am to putter about in the morning dew or gentle rain typical of this time of year.
It is the Caterpillar Harvest! Masses of little green and yellow striped caterpillars are picked off of clumps of thigh high grasses where the Congolese say they have “fallen.” At the Women’s School, rather than have half our women gone each day for classes, this year we have delayed school for several hours each day to allow the women time to both collect and study caterpillars.
God is so very gracious; at this hungry time each year when the crops are not at harvest stage yet, and frequent rains make drying manioc (our main staple) very difficult, God has provided this special high protein treat of small voracious caterpillars. Like manna, they are collected in the early morning dew before the hot sun comes out. Unlike manna, the caterpillars are energetic and likely to crawl out of your bowl! Women and children hurry home with squirming bowlfuls of bounty to begin the process of squeezing or cleaning out each worm before washing and boiling them in salt. They are boiled dry and then, if there are any left, dried. Preserved in this way, caterpillars can be saved for months, and perhaps even sold, as they are a popular food at any time of the year.
God is good. These little buttery tasting caterpillars being collected now, and the gifts from many of you that allow us to be hands and feet of love and support to the families of our Pastoral School students, remind us that God provides for us wherever we are in many gracious ways.