As the work grows, so does the need for infrastructure - buildings, security, and maintenance - not to impress, but to safely house, protect, and improve our service to the vulnerable.
This trip we managed to build the security wall along the front of our Centre, erect water tanks on a huge cement platform, replace roofing on the rabbitry, and begin “Evans House” - accommodation for training teams, visitors and volunteers.
Expecting to quarantine our saanen goats when they arrived from South Africa, we also extended one of our goat kholas to an advanced design for maximum hygiene, bio/physical security and effective management. All this development involved benefiting the local community (and economy) with employment for 13 building teams’ builders, assistants and water carriers’ engaging local craftsmen, suppliers, market traders and businesses.
Work progresses on “Evans’ House”
Chickens - Aiming to improve local village stock, we kept several flocks of Black Austrolopes. We visited cockerels that we’d placed with vulnerable families in the community, who were delighted with bigger eggs and huge clutches of chicks. However, the stark truth is that it will be much more economical for us to buy in young birds to give away, than breed them ourselves, so after careful evaluation it was decided to close this project, giving away all our stock to the needy.
There are various plans to improve supply:- re-siting the current system’s intake higher up the mountain, and a new pipeline from Phala River which will extend water to 5 extra villages (3090 people), both of which we are eager to support to benefit the local vulnerable communities.
The major ongoing challenge is water supply.
In the months after we left last November, both the local borehole and community piped system were often dry, and even after the rainy season, most days there was little water available in taps.
However, water shortage on our own site was threatening our effectiveness in serving the community, so we erected 2 x 5000ltr water tanks as a storage facility, generously funded by
The Chembe Water Project.
If water is still only flowing during the night as in recent months, the tanks ensure water is available next day. However, this is just a local short-term solution, we need to help develop plans to re-construct the current community system, as the first phase towards providing continuous water to thousands.
Rabbits - Initially, results were disappointing. We’d put a grass roof on the rabbitry for coolness, lined with plastic sheeting against the rain. But rats/mice perforated it and water leaked through, soaking the youngsters in their breeding boxes - we lost several litters. So we replaced the roof with two layers of corrugated iron, to maximise ventilation. 2 more litters were soon born and thrived.
A major difficulty facing this project is not being able to move rabbits on into the community fast enough, because of difficulties sexing at a young age. Need to overcome this, but the project still has great potential
This is page 3 Summer trip 2011