Picked up the Vice Secretary Ms. Dorothy Mwale and Mrs. Martha to go through to one of the villages under their membership where we met up with the Chairperson Mrs Faustina Phiri for the IRDI Moringa and national Development project.
I met Mrs Phiri almost a year ago and it was good to catch up now with the planting rolling out, we duly set of from there to the actual village where the planting will start, and like so many places within a 70Km from Lusaka the world change into this beautiful rolling hills, the road stop about 1.5Km from the village and we did the rest by foot, was nice but hot and humid, but the up side is one get to know the place and it helps with the assessment as well. and there was lots to see in a short trip.
The sad thing is that there is no primary school in this village and children have at least a 2 hour brisk walk to school and back, that school covers from grade 1 to 7 and has no qualified teachers, it is a community school and the best people they could find out of the community is teaching the children what they can, and are being paid if and when and how much the community can afford, the poor children that is between grade 8 and 12 have another 10Km to go to their nearest school, that makes it a 4 hour walk, the end result is of course that a lot of children is simply not going to school.
One of the delight was one of the streams coming from the hill during rainy season, now pretty dry as it has not rained in about a week, judging by the testimonies and what i could see on the ground there is quite a bit of water coming down there, and even more amazing it is a totally different ecosystem.
It is after this delight that the Moringa plantations would be, and the nice part of this plantation is that ones again we dont have to remove natural trees to do so, we are just going to integrate the Moringa with the natural trees on the field.
We will soon plant 10 000 Moringa trees there as a test to see how well the village can work together and then will do a follow up planting and 2 weeks with another 40 000 trees.
Unfortunately we were all pressed for time so there was no stopping here to take more pictures of the trees and the ground vegetation. I actually saw on the way back a fern species that i have not seen before, not that im an expert, have just visited a lot of different forests in Southern Africa before, not that that was the only surprise that was in store for me as far as the flora of the village go.
We have passed a couple of small family dwellings on our way and when we came through the big trees of the stream we were basically in the field where they want to plant the Moringa, as we turned downhill i saw another small dwelling on the foot of the opposite hill and automatically assumed that we were going there, this turned out later to be not the case.
As you can see in the field it is a natural open space, as we walked down i kept my eyes open for signs of resent deforestation but could not find any signs but that of bush fire not to long ago, something that is pretty normal here and to many times the result of destructive customs and believes.
As it is on a slope and the soil is pretty good, the drainage on this land will be good, and that is what Moringa need to grow well and pretty much disease free, moist soil but not water logged. In no time the clearing and weeding will start and we are going to do our best to use this to get the composting going, there is lots of “seeding” material available in nature there.
During this time i was not really looking at the plant life but rather at the water harvesting potential and natural tree lines, as well as our destination, that turned out to be the last that i expected and the lady’s not dot say a word about until we were at the edge, i could hear it before i saw it actually, and what a delight when i did!
A beautiful year round stream and i just had to get my feet wet to take this picture to share with you, and this right next to the Moringa field, this area is also perfect to apply the principles capture in food-forest and permaculture designs, aquaculture, irrigation and green energy. Loads of input for a transition specialist and a person that naturally conceptualize and innovate.
Here we took some time as we spoke about them wanting the national power company to deliver energy, and we covered subjects like green or sustainable energy, the fact that big Hydro schemes are ecologically very unfriendly and together we created a vision of communities actually using all their natural resources to create energy themselves and selling the surplus to Zesco, the national power company. hen i asked them what they think Zambia would be like if the majority of communities does this successfully, the answer came fast “No more power cuts! “cost effective sustainable power” and i rest my case there and then, lots of people think people in rural villages are behind the times, they not, if presented with logic reason and respect for our children’s future their reasoning is spot on, and much more passionate about it than people in cities that just consume with know actual real knowledge of where their food comes from and what was done to the environment to get it to their tables, refreshing to say the least.
On our way back we stopped here and there when the discussion became to interesting to walk, and as i had a pretty good idea for the transition phase and the potential of the Mafugo village i was able to pay more attention to nature around me. I walked past 2 or 3 Aloe Vera cactus without taking real note as the have been planted all over Southern Africa when it became popular, soon i realized that they actually grow naturally here, and they grow well and is looking really really healthy, it might make a very profitable fire break crop around the Moringa as fire is one thing that will kill your Moringa trees outright.
I asked Dorothy to stand by one for the purpose of scale, as you can see here they are big and very very healthy, something we love to see in development, a potential economically viable crop growing naturally in a area.
Later during the walk i came upon this sight with what i thought to be 2 different species growing together ( I am not an expert in Aloe Vera) and was explained to by Dorothy that the locals say the plain green one is the male and the smaller more vibrant green with white elongated spots is the female. According to Dorothy the locals are taking the 2 in combination for the treatment of Aids, although i know the pharmacology of the Moringa and the role that can play in the treatment of Aids, i know nothing about Aloe Vera and Aids, maybe there are a expert on Aloe Vera or a pharmacologist that can tell us if this holds water or not. In saying that Moringa can play a role in the treatment of Aids it is NOT a cure for Aids, ARV treatment should never be stopped for the sake of anything, there are however, like Moringa good nutrition out there in nature, with loads of antioxidants and amino acids, some of them act as natural immune boosters and we all know good nutrition is just plain common sense for every day life.
The other interesting think a saw, and for just a moment i thought i was back in Cape Town South Africa walking on the slopes of Table Mountain when i saw this bush, my neurology was shouting to me about it a couple of times but the idea to me was absurd and i tried to ignore it but eventually i had to stop and take a closer look, i can put my head on a bock that this is part of the Protea family, maybe our learned friends can identify it from the picture. if this is the case its cousin the King Protea might do well here under cultivation and that will give the community another income generating activity in selling cut flowers, very lucrative and the King Protea will be a git in this region.
On the way back we run into the local headman Mr. Kachingwe and he politely agreed to make himself available for a meeting with the woman’s group and myself. The meeting was very good and a lot was discussed, he is very happy about our systems, vision and the service we hope to provide for his community in assisting them to develop themselves.
Like with most villages i go to this place has wonderful potential and opportunities, we also discussed most of the common problems of mobilizing community and getting them to work together, we explained the systems we will assist them with to overcome most of the problems and they agreed that it is a very good solutions based system and in their mind it will work in their village.
Keep tuned in on our blogs for the different villages and communities we work in, what we do there, how we do it, what works and what does not, if their is one thing we are not scared of is failure of a particular step, it leaves on with a much better knowledge to adjust and do it in a way that will realize the vision, and that my friends is the only important one!
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