The saga of connecting the Training Hall to electricity droned on. The electrical components were fitted and connection applied for years ago, but with much pushing—and no bribes— Escom eventually connected us! Electricity supply is frustratingly erratic. It’s off part of most days and sometimes for many hours, putting our goats milk and vet drugs at risk as refrigeration fails.
We are still aiming to gradually equip the site with solar power to minimise reliance on electricity but it’s a slow, expensive job.
Our second site is dedicated to agriculture - growing crops for seed multiplication (cassava, sweet potato), and moringa trees inter-planted with soya to re-energise the soil. It’s also the demo plot for our conservation farming programme, seed beds, and for growing leguminous trees for animal fodder & compost.
Providing a secure base from which to serve the community, our building programme is nearing completion. The security wall is finished and mostly capped with glass as, sadly, security is becoming an increasing problem.
While we were there, once again our water supply dwindled to nothing, our tanks dry, however, we laid a new pipe network so water can be circulated round the site by a solar-powered pump, to improve availability and pressure when the water’s flowing.
Moringa leaves are packed with nutrients so we’re processing them into a food supplement for the malnourished. Unfortunately, we lost hundreds of seedlings on one site in the floods earlier this year, then much of the crop on the other with irrigation problems in the dry season. However, we dried and powdered the leaves we harvested, and, trusting that floods will not hit us again, we’ll aim to plant several thousand more trees over the next few months.
Training—Dickson, “Farming God’s Way” Malawian trainer came onto site and presented a 2 day Training Course on conservation farming techniques. We invited only those most interested in this form of farming, or we would have been overwhelmed. 84 people signed in, enjoying both the Course and the lunches provided!
But it’s had a hard time this year—first
devastated by floods, then scorched
during the dry season when we were
unable to irrigate adequately.
However, there’s a water pipe under this land and rather tongue-in-cheek we applied to make a connection for irrigation purposes. Surprisingly permission was granted, and, reassured others further down the line would not be detrimentally affected, we fitted a tap within the boundary of our very dry field, and also dug a trench to a roadside outer corner and erected another tap for the local community.
For the first time ever they have tapped water nearby!
Fuel is rising in price, making everything else more expensive, but at least it is available. Our elderly 4x4 has been serviced, had major repairs, new tyres and has passed its COF (MOT) so will hopefully keep us going for a while. However, it will soon need replacing, and we’re realising we need to carry more people and goods as the workload increases, so perhaps we should consider a minibus or a truck too!
The motorbike, kindly donated by Rotary earlier this year is great, and we’ve enabled staff to gain their provisional licences—rare in the rural areas of Malawi!
Moringa leaves - packed with vitamins, iron, protein, calcium and potassium
Kids’ Unit, and some of the young ones enjoying it!
All OHP work in Malawi is overseen by trusted friends and we’ll return in February.