Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jaredite Direction of Travel – Part XVI – The Barge that Sustained Life for 344-days

Continued from the last post, this is the conclusion of this series on the Jaredite travel, their direction and the barges they built, and their surviving the lengthy voyage to the land of promise. There has been much written criticism about this 344-day voyage and how the Jaredites survived, but understanding their vessels helps us get a clearer picture of the overwhelming problem of crossing the Great Deep and how the Lord solved it for the Jaredites.
In the 18th century alone, scurvy killed more British sailors than all enemy action combined. Many early voyages lost as much as two-thirds of their crews to scurvy. Of 184,899 British sailors during the Seven Year’s War, over 130,000 died from scurvy
    As has been stated earlier, surviving long sea voyages presented unsolvable problems for mariners up to and even during the Age of Sail in the 17th to 19th centuries A.D. The main problem was food and water supplies, necessitating seamen setting into ports during their voyage to replenish their depleted supplies. It also limited the length of any one voyage before such supplies could be replaced. Setting in for supplies, even for military warships, often posed difficulties with either mutinies--crewmen jumping ship to remain behind--or war parties of indigenous peoples of the island where the supplies were to be replaced, or even in finding suitable fresh water and fruit available.
    The Jaredites, on the other hand, did not face most of these difficulties since they were in vessels that were not navigable and, therefore, could not be landed along the course of their voyage. Their only need was the replacement of supplies, and that, too, was not a problem since the Lord had prepared unique trees for their use not only for the vessel itself (see previous several posts), but also the food and water needed on the voyage.
    As has been briefly mentioned, the Baobab tree is unique since every single part of the tree constitutes genuine and practical use for food, water, medicine, and materials. As an example for medicine, the leaves are used as an anti-diarroheic, also as febrifuge and against inflammation and filarae (a parasitic nematode). The powder made of dried out leaves fights anaemia, rachitis, dysentry, asthma, rhumatism ; it is also used as a tonic and an emollient ointment. The pulp can fight diarrhea, dysentery, small pox and measles. The bark fights fever, inflammation of the digestive track, and when decocted the fiber of the fruit can fight diarrhea.
    For food, the leaves are either mashed into gruels or porridges or dried (lao or alo) and mixed with cereals and gravy-sauces as they are rich in calcium, iron, proteins, and lipids.
The seeds are full of vegetable oil and can be grilled, then eaten, and are also rich in phosphate, and used for making soap and fertilizers. The pulp of the fruit can be eaten raw but it is also mashed into a thin gruel to prepare drinks for children—when mixed with water the beverage is similar to coconut milk with a taste of lime.

    The leaves can also be eaten like raw spinach and to make a salad along with the chopped tap root; can also be used to treat kidney and bladder disease, asthma, and insect bites; the excessive flower pollen is boiled with water to make glue; and the young seedlings cooked and eaten like asparagus; seeds roasted to make nuts. The bark yields a strong fiber used for ropes (as strong as nylon), twine, weaving thread, mats, baskets, paper, cloth, nets, and water-proof hats; the fruit shell can he used for bowls, balers, drinking cups and even breast cups, with the wood used for making certain musical instruments, while roots are used to make red dye and also the ground pulp to make ink.
    The tree automatically stores water, and certain areas when hollowed out remain filled with thousands of gallons, and can be tapped to provide an ongoing water supply, as the leaves can be stored or remain on cut twigs, or even keep growing on stems placed in baskets of soil--and eaten along the way.
The interior of a Baobab tree that was hollowed out and now a public bar. The uneven interior wall shows both the natural pattern of growth of the exterior shell, but also the way the tree’s strength is achieved through its exterior bark-covered stem or trunk that can be up to two or three feet thick in places. These odd shaped “bulkheads” could be tapped during the voyage to provide drinking water from the tree’s storage
    The fruit of the tree, which grows in abundance, can be harvested and stored for eating during the voyage. Each fruit pod is about the size of a coconut and automatically dehydrates within the shell when ripe and breaks into small cubes. These cubes can easily be ground into powder and used for eating or adding to milk or water or sprinkled on other foods for both taste and for their extremely powerful nutrients and vitamins. Today called a superfood, they are so high in natural ascorbic acid (vitamin C ) and other vitamins that a year’s non-stop voyage would pose no problem for the Jaredites. This is especially true when this superfruit can be stored naturally for a year, and sometimes up to three years.
    Having introduced the unique food, nutrient, and usage qualities of the Baobab, let’s look at that again with the idea in mind of these values to the Jaredites as they traveled within an enclosed vessel capable of being submerged in “the depths of the sea,” as well as float upon the water “like a bird,” during the course of a 344-day voyage. Many have criticized this issue not understanding how the Jaredites would have stored food, and survived without stopping to resupply both fresh fruit and water, yet the answer is quite simple.
The Baobab tree is prolific in growing fruit. The fruit is as much as 10” long, automatically dehydrates upon maturity into cubes and powder within the shell during ripening period, and can be stored for up to three years
    In fact, many societies consider the tree to grow an almost magical fruit—a true superfruit that makes other so-called superfruits like pomegranates and cranberries green with envy! The latest find in the superfood world, it outdoes the amazing properties of even the goji berry—and is widely considered to be the king of all superfruits. It is rich in macronutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamins B2, B3 and B6 and essential minerals. It contains 50% more calcium than spinach, twice as much calcium as milk, ten times the antioxidant level of oranges–as well as three times the vitamin C–and four times as much potassium as bananas.
The dietary value of the Baobab fruit is remarkable. It has two times the Potassium of French Beans, 2 ½  times that of Lentils; 3 times that of Spinach; 8 or more times than Banana, Blackcurrent, Kiwi and Pomigranate, and 10 times or more than Oranges, Apples, Cranberries and Blueberries; it has 3 times more fiber than Goji Berries, 5 times more than Acai, 4 times more than Blueberries, and more than 10 times more than Pomegranate, Cranberries and Bananas; in addition, it has no fat (saturated or Transfat), no cholesterol, no sodium, and low in sugars; It is also higher in Iron, Magnesium and Antioxidants than other fruits
    The seed and pulp are also excellent sources of magnesium, thiamin and phosphorous. It is also used in a variety of ways, most often the seeds are roasted to make a shot drink and the fruit mixed with water to form lemonade or made into a jam that has a tart flavor, like lemon curd and a gritty texture like pear. The leaves can be eaten as relish or soup and the seeds used to produce edible oil, which is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
    The vitamin “C” (ascorbic acid) requirements for long ocean voyages has long been understood because of the many deaths from scorbutus (scurvy) contracted by early sailors, pirates, and even soldiers who were deprived of perishable fruits and vegetables for extended periods—often killing large numbers of crew and passengers on long-distance voyages; a problem first reported by Hippocrates 5th century B.C. and continuing through World War I. With the Jaredites cooped up in the bowels of a vessel for 344-days without the benefit of even sunlight, other than through two small openings when they were on the surface, perishable fruit and vegetables would not have lasted long, and the need for Vitamin “C” would have been a most basic and absolute requirement—one the Baobab tree provided in abundance. This naturally dehydrating fruit contains extremely high levels of ascorbic acid, specifically, 100g of pulp contains up to 300mg of vitamin C, approximately six times more than the ascorbic acid content of one orange or lemon.
The fruits are filled with pulp that dries, hardens, and falls to pieces which look like chunks of powdery, dry bread, and contains other essential vitamins, such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin or PP) and B6 (pyridoxine). In addition, the fruit contributes to the supply of other important dietary nutrients, such as minerals. 100g of wet pulp contains about 300mg of calcium, 3000mg of potassium and 30mg of phosphorus.
    As for the animals carried along in the barges, the oilmeal of the fruit pods and leaves could be used as animal feed, as well as the very twigs of the branches themselves, along with the bark. To help speed up the process of growth during the voyage, cutting into the thick seed coat speeds up germination from months or years to just seven days. And just in case there was a fire started in the vessel, the Baobab bark is fire resistant, but if some bark is damaged or stripped, they simply grow new bark and continue growing.
    Unlike man, when the Lord is involved in planning a trip, he takes care of everything needed in one fell swoop. Amazing how the creator of the Universe can use his creations in ways man had never considered.

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