Local Time in Korr, Kenya

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Funniest Home Photos

Please watch the small boy running down the center of these three photos. His name is Juma Puma (well, the "Puma" is my nickname for him) and he is awesome at getting himself into trouble. For example...
Running off to join the big boys doing round-offs and cartwheels.
Roundhouse kick to the face.
Wipe-out. Bless his little heart.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Water Witching

I still say this is bologna, but since it can't be scientifically proven and I can't disprove it, I guess I'm stuck.
"Water Witching" or "Dowsing," to be a little less pagan, is the technique of using a "Y" shaped branch or two metal "L" shaped rods to detect underground water sources. There's nothing to say about how it actually works beyond that you're supposed to hold your sticks, wood or metal, in your hands at about chest level. When you walk over an area of land that covers an underground water source, the branch supposedly dips down or the metal rods cross each other to form an "X." That's it. No scientific explanation to speak of.
(My student Joel tries his hand at holding the witching sticks.)
The people I work with guess that somehow an electric current travels from the underground water, through a person's body, and then affects the metal rods, or, perhaps, that the water in the soil somehow attracts the water in a branch to itself. Heaven help anyone who tried this around the Puritans because they would have been hung real fast. This is about as close to real life magic as I've gotten.
I was the biggest scoffer when Jim and Laura Propst said that we were going to use these sticky things to go find a good site for a well. However, to prove their point, we did a couple of practice rounds directly over the site of an already existing well that clearly has water in it, and sure enough our metal rods crossed all over themselves when the person holding them stood above the well. I thought that surely everyone was messing with me until I also tried it and found that without moving my hands or thinking, "magical thoughts" the rods crossed even more adamantly in my hands in my hands than in anyone else's. How ironic.
Then, with my new found interest, we took our sticks out to the bush and walked around for a bit trying to locate the underground water that had somehow eluded professional surveyors. We actually did get a bit of activity a few hundred meters away from where the surveyors tried, and failed, to get a spout of water. If our project ever gets a little more money, perhaps we can try this bewitched site...
(Rendille children trying to figure out what in the world this white man is doing walking around, paying very close attention to two sticks in his hands.)