Part of our plot at Makhonja
Still chugging along, not huge progress, but more litters were born during recent months. We are exploring designs for an economical, manure collection-friendly, secure khola for community use, as apparently many of the rabbits issued were attacked by dogs.
Left: our disused chicken coop, replaced by:
Below: the new Kids Unit going up.
This will enable us to specially care for the youngsters in our herd, giving them the best possible start to become productive contributors to our milk programme
Development of our site is progressing.
During our recent trip, we expected to continue fitting out our Processing Unit, ready to produce a nutritious moringa food supplement for the malnourished. However, we found the trees had been badly but temporarily affected by the floods, causing us to re-assess our building priorities.
So, because of an attempted break-in earlier this year, security of personnel, property and facilities shot to the top of the “urgent” list. Therefore we continued to build the outer wall, raising the height in sections where outside rocks may enable scaling. This was accomplished and a rolling gate with personnel entrance was designed, made locally, fitted and painted. Lots more food on the table for our building team members, local craftsmen and suppliers!
Apart from vegetables for the community and our moringa trees, the rest of our main site is dedicated to sweet potato seed multiplication. We’re growing two varieties: Zondeni is highly nutritious, drought & pest resistant, and praised for its large tubers while Mugamba apparently develops huge quantities of leafy vines - exactly what we need to grow to feed our goats.
As we continue to train in conservation farming and use “Farming God’s Way”, we’re trying planting everything flat (instead of ridges, raised, or sunken beds), at calculated intervals, with everything shrouded with FGW’s mulch blanket for moisture /soil retention and nourishment.
We’ve fenced the front third of the plot (50m x 20m) to protect against wandering animals, vandalism and theft. Along the roadside we’ve planted demo gardens of maize, vegetables, sweet potato and cassava for seed multiplication. A compost heap will also be on show, underlining our conviction that this is the best way to improve soil quality. Behind this section, we’ll alley-plant moringa (currently in seed beds) interplanted with legume trees for nitrate fixing and leaf mulch.
Also, we’ve allocated part for Yankho - our AIDS support group - to plant the cassava and sweet potato cuttings we’ve supplied, with all produce being shared amongst their most vulnerable members. But it’s also designed for seed multiplication, so each member will receive cuttings of these important crops later in the year for their own gardens as part of the pass-on programme.
5 localised chicken projects are also being planned for them
We were delighted that North Walsham’s Rotary Club led others in generously funding a motorbike for monitoring community projects. However, buying it proved a stressful exercise, as we had to bring it in from Mozambique then spend 4 very frustrating days registering it in Malawi. But it will be invaluable in the field! Thank you Rotary!
Our only car - an ancient 4x4 - is feeling its age now, but we’re still managing to keep it on the road. It really needs replacing however, as if it breaks down out in the bush, there’s no rescue organisation, skilled mechanics or garage within reach! We bought 2 extra push-bikes too, to help staff check community projects
David & Lynda and our 20 Malawian staff, divided into departments
• Project Committee (including reception). responsible for planning, administration and monitoring community projects.
On our site in Makhonja, we’re exploring how to link seasonal planting of maize with that of cassava, sweet potato and vegetables. With the help of our friends, Les, Kathie & Precious, we’ve produced a plan for all planting based around the original 60cm x 75cm grid for maize. This is exciting stuff!
This is page 2
of summer update 2013