Category Archives: Liuwa Plain National Park

We built the resource garden & tree nursery!

We did it! Mukutele (Welcome in Silozi)

I arrived back home to Canada on May 1st. 16lbs lighter in weight but gained a ton in knowledge. You don’t realize how much you can learn about survival, compassion and hard work until you have seen it done with your own eyes. I spent 30 days in Zambia Africa and came home with a renewed zest for what SEEDS is trying to do and confidence that we can do it.

I stayed in a guest house ran by Sister Cathy of the Catholic Church of Zambia, met the famous UBC-O nurses from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada, who have been training and learning in the hospital in Mongu and met other NGO’s all trying to do their bit to help.

With such a need for every thing there it is hard not to give. I ran out of money so I ate like they ate (sparsely), I slept with a net over my bed, shared a room with spiders and cock roaches that would put Texas to shame and struggled to get things done in constant heat that burns.

I met the rest of Freddrick’s (our manager) amazing family whom I now call my own, met amazing farmers of all ages and played with the wonderful innocent children whom we are trying to help. We had a hard working crew, lead by Freddrick and I had my little followers who helped me clear up brush and plastic garbage and plant the vegetable garden and trees.

We built the resource garden for farmers complete with drip irrigation and the tree nursery. We even painted a big sign on the gate! I had to make green paint as I could only find black & white and even made my own paint brush out of a duck feather.

In three weeks time, we handed out vegetable seeds from Canada to 12 female and 23 male farmers who lived fairly close (within an hours bike ride) to our Resource Centre. We are tracking the numbers in their families and I guesstimate we provided additional food crops for 350 people . That means we are potentially helping 315 children have a better variety of vegetables.

These crops should harvest in July which is during their dry season when they need the food most. The rainy season starts in October/November and their normal harvest is in January/February/March. Therefore they have to make that harvest last until the next harvest. A long time!

We have computer software to track our results so I will know more as our Assistant Manager Matindo records our stats and reports back to me in Canada.

We even received our first lot of tree seeds that were handed in by a 67 year old female farmer who we then gave a second batch of seeds.

I saw a wild Lion on the side of the road while on the bus in Kafue National Park and the orphaned Elephants at Lilayi.

I am blessed to be able to do this, thanks to the people who have donated funds so far. I raised the $600.00 Canadian dollars which it cost to build the garden and tree nursery and the rest of the money was my own. We still have much more to do and I look forward to a seed full year.

I am saving seeds again and hope to send the next batch in July 2014 so if you could help in any way please go to

Thanks Joanne

Seeds has Charitable Status-Wueeee!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I just found out yesterday morning that we have an official charitable number  801 572 736 RR0001 so we may issue tax receipts.

We are only issuing receipts for $15.00 and up at this time, but any amount you can spare is welcome.

To issue the receipt I will need your full name, including middle initial, address and amount  and I will send the receipts to you prior to the end of February 2014.

Socio-Economic And Environmental Development Solutions (SEEDS), is our legal name.

Donate Through Paypal

If you wish to donate with your credit card through paypal you may do so by clicking here

paypal-donate (1)

You may also mail a cheque to:

 Socio-Economic And Environmental Development Solutions (SEEDS)

4 Browning Ave.,

Toronto, On., M4K 1V7

Or if you prefer, you may go to any Bank Of Montreal and deposit directly into our non-profit Business Account with the following information:

Transit # 0417

Account # 8986-442


Canada Revenue Agency has started a temporary supplement with an added 25% to the rates used to calculate monetary donations up to $1000.00.

So if you have not donated in the past 5 years and claimed it on your income tax, nows the time!

Our web site is growing at the moment but I will let you know when it is in full bloom!

For now you may still find out what we are doing on the blog We presently have four locations to send seeds to in Africa and are working on sending them to our Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

If you have any questions you may email me and I will sprout up to get back to you

Wishing you all a very Berry Christmas and Seedy New Year!LOL.

If you have already donated, Many, Many thanks. May you Stay Blessed!

Please pass this to anyone you think may want to assist in preserving our seed diversity, trees and elephants in the world or help people less fortunate than ourselves!



Big Hug!

Thank you and have a SEED FULL Day!

Great team for the Silozi Seed bank


I just spoke to Fredrick on May 7,2013 and he has completed the compost pit. He had to purchase manure so hopefully this compost will be enough to last for this year. The 2 metre x 1 metre pit is supposed to fill 8000 small black polythene tubes. He will start filling in the planting tubes with tree seeds this June. He has collected some himself but hopefully The Silozi Seed bank will start functioning soon and the participants will hand in a good variety of tree seeds.

Fredrick, Car & I

Fredrick, Carl & I

I must say that something is guiding me through all of this. So many things have happened and are falling into place it is amazing.

So I am very excited about our team.

We are in the process of setting up the non-profit charitable organization.

It is called S.E.E.D.S. Inc. which stands for Socio-Economic and Environmental Development Solutions.

Officially you need 3 Directors to start a non profit, therefore we have:

President-Joanne Hutchinson, owner Med Management, author.

Secretary-Ellena Andoniou, Ph.D Candidate, Geography, Western University.

Treasurer-Sorcha Kellett, Nutritionist/Dietitian(member I.N.D.I.)

I have met some amazing people and hooked up with old acquaintances that are helping this quest move forward quite nicely.

By chance I met Ellena’s mother who works at the Bank of Montreal near us through Carl’s parents. I was opening a US bank account and told her about my projects re the environment ie. my polar bear book and The Silozi Seed bank and Trees for Elephants.

Also by chance I met Sonny Cho who went to school with Carl and his sister Michelle. Sonny now is a fund raiser for Centennial College and he was looking for a hospitality/trade school in Africa to send students too. He was helping me learn the ins and outs of fund raising and sent me a brochure from western University. Well guess who’s picture was in the brochure? Ellena.

So I went back to the BMO and gave Ellena’s mom my email address for Ellena and the rest is history.

Then I was walking back from the grocery store and ran into Sorcha.

I hired and trained Sorcha how to use Quickbooks at a doctors office I worked at many years ago. We chatted as we walked and had a meeting the next day and now she is on board. Sorcha is a Nutritionist/Dietitian so she will be a great help with these projects.

As you all know I am saving seeds along with 4 friends. I also have the Sobey’s  near me,  Ingo, my next door neighbour who is a chef. My biggst supporter so far has been Frakin Catering . Darryl who owns Frakin Catering has saved so many seeds for me he is proving to me that this can work.

Remember how I said earlier that I am so privileged as this is all falling into place.

Ellena is a Global Health Conference Co-Ordinator for SASA Scientific Committee & Editorial Board. SASA stands for The Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa (SASA) is hosting it’s inaugural conference The Advancement of Science in Africa and seeks to engage the international scientific community in finding paths towards strengthening the scientific and technological capacities of communities, schools, and institutions in Africa.

SASA ( South African Science Association) asked Ellena to come and speak at this years conference on April 25,2013. This was amazing to me as it was a less expensive way to get some seeds to Africa so Ellena kindly mailed from South Africa, over 15,000 seeds to Fredrick on May1,2013.

I sent sweet peppers, pomegranate, sunflower, cherry tomatoe,…

It only cost Ellena $21.00 to send them from South Africa and I have yet to mail them from Toronto so we shall see what it costs when I do.

That should give him a good start at handing out 100 seeds to each person. Therefore he can give 150 families 100 seeds each to start this project.

I will keep you posted as to how it all goes. As of today he has not recieved them yet. The mail system is really slow there as Mongu is 640K from the capital city Lusaka and I had to mail them to The Country Lodge as it had a proper address.

Here is the process for a batch of 43 pepper seeds I received from Ingo, the chef who lives next door. I have determined that it is best to take the seeds off the stem asap and lay them on the parchment paper. They tend to get slymy if you wait too long.


drying on two sheets of parchment

drying on two sheets of parchment


ended up over 10,000 seeds when dried

ended up over 10,000 seeds when dried

Thank you for your donation everyone!

When the Road is done, they will come!

Here is a little video I have done from footage in Zambia when we were there in August 2012.

I was trying to relate this video to The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees for Elephants but was not thinking I would be making a short film when I was there so I am limited with my choice of footage.

Obviously the Elephants are my love and I think will keep tourism in Africa. If we can grow trees to sell to private and National parks, maybe we can save the Elephants, reforest the land, reduce erosion and create an income for the people.

There are no Elephants in Kalabo or Liuwa Plains National Park so it is a perfect place to grow the trees that Elephants love to eat. We will also grow chilies to sell as chilies are a deterrent to elephants raiding gardens.

Millions of acres of grasslands are burnt in Africa to kill ticks and encourage new growth for their cattle but it has devastating effects by putting carbon into the atmosphere and drying up the earth so natural watering holes are reduced. A more holistic approach is needed by mulching the grass and using it with cow manure to replenish the soil instead of burning off all of the goodness. It is hard work turning soil by hand to make a garden.

It is also necessary to plant gardens in areas close to water. People will walk miles to plant gardens and set up grass huts to live in while the gardens grow. Sweet potatoes grow well in Zambia.

This is a 1.17 minute piece of the road that took us 7 hours to cross from Mongu to Kalabo. We had a 4×4 CRV but it was low and we got stuck twice. Construction on this road started in 2011 and once completed will allow easier access from Mongu  to Kalabo and even on to Angola. This new traffic will increase trade and commerce for the area.

And finally the children. I hope that The Silozi Seed Bank will bring fresh vegetables to many villages so they will have better variety and nutrition for all.

The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees For Elephants

An older giraffe with darker spots

An older giraffe with darker spots.

Notice the light spots

Notice the light spots on a younger giraffe.

Hello everyone!

I hope you are not suffering from cabin fever too much this year.

Spring is around the corner!

Here is something to warm you up. Think Africa!

This blog is to tell you all about two new co-operative projects I have started.

The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees for Elephants.

I thought of the Trees For Elephants idea in August 2011 when I went to Zambia the first time and The Silozi Seed Bank this winter.

Since May 2011, I have been saving and drying seeds out of the vegetables I purchase for personal use. I have saved all pepper seeds, both hot & sweet, pumpkin, squash, tomatoe, all herbs, avacado and my latest trial seeds are pomegranate, plum, olive and date pits. Basically anything that will grow in hot climates.

How many of you remember saving, or still do save,  the tops of pop cans to buy someone a wheelchair. Well if you would, I would really appreciate it if you could dry and save seeds for me to take to Kalabo, Zambia. Also if you have any unused, return utility envelopes and washed out clear milk bags I need those as well.

Here is how it will work!

The Silozi Seed bank partners ( meaning you) will collect seeds, unused utility bill envelopes and washed used milk bags. Approximately 100 seeds will be handed out to each participant( Villager). Interest paid on those seeds will be 50 seeds.When interest is paid participants will receive 100 more seeds for planting. Participants must also attend a training session on cultivating, drying and propagating seeds for year round growth. Interest seeds may be from vegetables grown by participants or from fallen tree seeds around their compounds.(note: each green pepper has approximately 250 seeds).

I am hoping to start a Silozi Seed Bank mobile unit as well to reach those participants in rural areas and schedule revisits according to projected harvest.

Colalife, in Zambia has a wonderful idea to deliver Zinc Aid Pods  to remote areas by utilizing the Coca Cola delivery people. There is a huge incidence of child mortality due to diarrhea in Zambia and  Zinc and a salt/sugar combination will easily combat the diarrhea.These Aid Pods fit perfectly in between the coca cola bottles in the red crates. Check out their web site

I am hoping that I may squeeze a few seed packages of peppers into their Aid pods as they are high in vitamin A & C to help prevent blindness but that is a whole other story.

This is where Trees for Elephants comes in.

The tree seeds collected will then be used for the Trees for Elephants Program & Nursery.

Chaminuka Aug.2011

Chaminuka Aug.2011

Note the damage done to the trees by the Elephants.

Note the damage done to the trees by the Elephants.

Private Game parks have to take their Elephants to designated areas to eat the trees so they can monitor the losses.

Private Game parks have to take their Elephants to designated areas to eat the trees so they can monitor the losses.

I would like to have local people collect seeds of any trees but in particular the trees that Elephants eat.


Sausage Tree










Paw Paw ( papaya)





I would like the villagers to collect ONLY the fallen seeds from around their compounds.

I will provide growing containers (where possible milk cartons), training and fertilizing techniques for the villagers to grow these seeds. Say 20 trees per family unit. I would also encourage them to plant trees in their own villages for shade to help stop global warming.

I will trade these seedlings with the villagers for vegetable seeds (The Silozi Seed Bank) and reissue containers to start the process over again.

I will then sell these potted trees to National Parks, Private Game Reserves and any tree planting organizations like in order to sustain the program and cover costs of containers and distribution.

I will set up local people to run the program and just supervise the project via email and yearly visits to replenish the vegetable seeds. I know the seeds will grow there as I found out from Njamba’s family when Carl & I went in Aug. 2012.

I have many great contacts now in Kalabo to get this project up and running. has been a great inspiration and source of knowledge. Check out their web site.

Western province has the highest poverty levels in Zambia. About 80% of the population in the province is regarded as being poor and at least 70% of those in the poor category are women. Kalabo, 75km west of the capital city Mongu,  is basically cut off from Mongu except by water from November to May due to heavy rains which flood the Zambezi River onto the Barotse Flood Plains. November to January are lean months. Stored produce from the previous growing season is almost used up and in any case would need to be transported during the rainy season, while the new season’s crops and grasses are not yet productive, and at the same time fishing stops for the spawning season. Hunting and trapping animals, which might have filled the gap, is no longer available to most people, and trapping water birds is one of the few alternatives to buying flour.

In Zambia private Game Reserves and National Parks have declining numbers of trees to support Elephants. In Zambia I was told by a local that if there is not enough bush to support an Elephant, then they shoot the elephant.

If we can start to grow trees now maybe we can save the Elephant, create local economic trade and ensure tourist income for Africa.

Note: There are no elephants in Kalabo so there is no risk of the seedlings being eaten prior to transport.

I would also like to grow chilies to sell due to the fact that if planted around vegetable gardens they are a deterrent to elephants who raid gardens.

I am very fortunate to have found a new partner, Ellena Andoniou.

Ellena is currently a PhD candidate focusing on Global Health and Development and has an abundance of field experience planning, implementing and coordinating community-based probiotic food projects in Tanzania and Kenya.  She has an extensive background in HIV/AIDS, nutrition, community health, capacity building, community mobilization and project management.  Her research has allowed her to work closely with the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania, The Kenya Medical Research Institute, and other development and health-care organizations in the region.

Here are some more innovative ideas that I will let you know about in future blogs.

Use old world technologies to produce food year round and give incentive to plant trees which also benefit the environment

-grass covered fencing to grow seedlings

-build hand made brick water cisterns as done in Greece using gravity and a spigot not a pump to get water

-use fish feces as fertilizer, aquaponics.

-make clay toilet foot stands and when removed plant a tree in that spot

The extra income and variety of seeds will improve health, overall well being to the people of Kalabo and these models could potentially be used in many parts of Africa.

So if you have any seeds, envelopes and or milk bags, please let me know by leaving a comment and I will make arrangements to pick them up.

I have saved at least 5000 seeds this winter so far.

Keep warm and thanks, Joanne

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I can’t get Zambia out of my heart!

I sit here at my computer and old man winter is at our back door.

It is -19 degrees Celsius outside and probably -25 with the wind chill.

But when I come into my office I see the pictures of Africa on my 17″ screen saver and feel warm.

It has been quite a while since I have written a blog but it is time.

I thought I had accomplished what I had set out to do by paying for Njamba and his brother Kufuku ( Brian as he calls himself in the final video). I felt relieved and told Carl that I didn’t feel the need to go back to Kalabo. Then on the 25 hour flight home I couldn’t help thinking about building a school there. I spent those hours drawing up the plans.

I know, you probably think I am crazy. Carl did at first but he knows me.

My thinking is that once they build the road from Mongu to Kalabo there will be more traffic to Kalabo and even on to the now stable Angola. Angola has a plethora of natural resources just waiting to be cultivated.

Why not open a hospitality/trade school in Kalabo to teach people how to accommodate all of that traffic. That is what I know best. I was in the restaurant business for 20 years. The people there need to learn a skill to be self sufficient and they are keen to learn.

I am presently waiting to hear from the Ministry of Education in Zambia to see if I can open K.H.A.T.S ( Kalabo Hospitality And Trade School ) in the under used existing Kalabo High School.

I have attached the ROUGH draft of my plans and they keep growing. I am making great connections with people who may help this new dream come true.

Have a read if you like and let me know what you think.

If you know anyone who would like to help with this project I am all ears.

I am still not sure of the exact names for the non profit or the school/s so these may change.

This is what I sent to Fredrick as he will be the Head Master of the school.

E.S.Z.A= Economic Stability Zambia Africa – Name of the Non Profit Organization

M.H.A.T. S=Mongu Hospitality & Trade School

K.H.A.T.S.= Kalabo Hospitality & Trade School


Agriculture & Gardening

Composting-good soil production

Seeds-Harvesting, Growing from seed, seed protection stands/shelters

Crop Rotation

Crops- growing, drying, cleaning, bagging & selling

Irrigation-water retention- building holding tanks for water during rainy season out of cement block

Herbs-thyme, basil, sage, oregano, tarragon, Italian parsley, chives, garlic, rosemary.

Vegetables-sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yellow onions, green onions, beets, cabbage, lettuce, maize, sweet peppers, hot peppers, beef steak tomatoes. cherry tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant, beans, legumes, quinoa, melons.

Trees, lime, lemon, orange, mango, pawpaw, papaya, the trees that elephants eat

We could have a market day twice a week to sell our vegetables

Sewing and Retail

Every student will have to learn to sew!

Each student will make one of the following for them selves and one to sell in the retail store on site. The retail store will ideally be located between the guest house and restaurant.

-Uniform: F-dress M-shorts & shirt

-Apron- to be worn while working in restaurant on site

-back pack-for carrying books & personal supplies

-utility bags for carrying groceries or what ever

-Hat- for working in the garden

-Pajamas- to wear to sleep F- nightgown M-Nightshirt

– Hoodie( jacket) for warmth

-Pillow-to sleep with

-chair cushions

-sheets-to sleep with

-Blanket- to sleep with

-tablecloth-one for restaurant and one to keep or gift for parents

-towel-for bathing

-napkins for restaurant

-clean cotton to stuff in pillows

-each student will make a name label for the items they are keeping and also a label with the schools name on it to put in the product we are selling.

Knitting and Croche’

-Knit- socks, scarves, hats, sweaters, baby blankets and full size blankets, tea cozies, baby toys


-learn how to make quilted blankets and pillow covers for bedding

Laundry & Sanitation

Each student will wash their own clothing, linens. They will wash their own uniform daily and hang to dry in their room over night.

Each student will do a shift doing laundry for Guest House & Restaurant

Each student will learn how to wash floors, toilets, walls, proper sanitary procedures.

Learn how to make soap and environmentally safe cleaning supplies, ie ash, baking soda, vinegar, use old tooth brushes as cleaning tools.

Make brooms.

Car wash

-have a car wash facility to earn extra income

Security& Landscaping

-we will combine this class so the guards have some thing to do rather than just stand around

-each student will take turns on security, girls included

-there will always be at least 8 people on security at all times

-we will train some dogs as well and have a cat for mice.

-tree planting

-animal husbandry- looking after the chickens, ducks, geese, goats

-maintain fences

Accounting & Computers- Lubasi

-each student will learn how to do basic accounting

-each student will learn how to use a computer- Word (Typing), email, internet search

( Google, Yahoo, Internet Explorer)

-each student will learn basic costing of items to make a profit when selling items

-food cost, inventory, income & expenses

-basic bookkeeping


-draw fake money to use for practice in restaurant


-there will be an English class but only English will be spoken in the classroom, including the guest house & restaurant.


-students will learn how to cook low cost healthy meals for the students & restaurant

-learn food preparation, hygiene, proper food temperatures to avoid bacteria, food cost,

-saving seeds for re planting

-inventory & storage

-drying and storing herbs-put in jars to sell in retail store

-meals samples

-curried rice, rice pilaf, corn bread, bread, vegetable stir fry, omelets, tortillas,etc.

Woodworking & Carpentry

  • – the students will build tables & chairs for the restaurant and to sell
  • – cashiers stand in restaurant
  • – server stand in restaurant
  • – hand washing stand
  • – also bunk beds for the dormitory and guest house
  • – double beds for guest house
  • – bed side tables for residents & guest house
  • – prep table for kitchen
  • – shelves for kitchen storage
  • – shelves for retail store
  • – sheds for animals
  • – shed for garden tool storage
  • – shade covers for seedlings
  • – stall to sell vegetables
  • – fencing
  • – an outdoor covered area for out door classes for gardening
  • – students would learn the basics of carpentry using hand tools
  • – safety

Art, Painting & Signage

-paint signs

-varathane signs

-paint big seeds to sell with school name on them

-paint school walls

-varathane furniture

-paper mache art to sell

-possible painting material, table cloths, napkins, curtains


-Learn the basics of electrical

-computer cables

-solar power


-toilet installation & repair

-repair taps

-make outdoor molds for toilets, then plant a tree on top

-build water reservoirs to collect water during rainy season

-basic plumbimg

-fish fertilization system



-students will learn to set tables, serve guests, clear tables, do dishes, give customer the bill, collect money( using the fake money), give proper change,

-write menus


-portion size for food cost

– clean restaurant

-opening and closing procedures

-napkin folding, silverware roll ups.

-there will be a cashier handling all of the real money who will start with a float and count the cash brought in at the end of their shift.

Guest House

  • – there will hopefully be a 10 room guest house
  • – students will learn how to run a guest house
  • – cleaning, making beds, refilling soap, coffee supplies
  • – insect control
  • – purchasing items needs to run a guest house
  • – collecting payments( using fake money), invoicing

I am not sure of all the details but the idea is that the facility would be self sufficient.

I might have someone to invest in this project but I have to know the costs first before I speak to them further.

I would like to have 50 girls & 50 boys

There would be an entrance fee equivalent to one 50lb bag of rice, ie tomatoes, maize, vegetables, cotton, chickens, goat, fish, sweet potatoes etc.

We would need the entrance fee for start up to feed all of the students.

Possible Additional Training-Extra curricular activities

-Set up a day care, pre school for the neighbourhood


-sports-football team, running club, volley ball, badminton

-fish fertilizer programe

-cement water tanks, rain barrels

-paper mache crafts

-get community involved, seed production, adult literacy, planting trees

Items needed

  • – a pick up truck
  • – a trailer would also be good to pull behind the truck to bring supplies
  • – wood working & gardening tools
  • – dishes ,cutlery, pots & pans, utensils for restaurant
  • – two large refrigerators, maybe three
  • – two large freezers, maybe three
  • – cooking stove
  • – outside BBQ
  • – fabric and thread supplier
  • – wool supplier
  • – notebook and school supplies
  • – office supplies
  • – garden seed container supplier
  • – cement block supplier to build cisterns to hold water during rainy season
  • – plumbing supplier
  • – 5 computers
  • – 5 sewing machines- we may have to start sewing by hand
  • – large bins to make composters and catch rain water
  • – electricity
  • – indoor plumbing
  • – a building to facilitate
    •  student residence 26 rooms with bunk beds- 4 to a room
    •  two rooms with only two students who are student monitors
    •  guest house-10 rooms with double bed & two bunk beds in each room
    •  5 rooms for teachers-double bed( sewing, gardening, Carpentry, cooking, restaurant)
    •  1 room for me with double bed and one set of bunk beds for guest teachers from Canada
    •  1 room for Frederick ( Operations Manager) with double bed and if you want one set of bunk beds
    •  1 room for Lubasi ( Accounts manager/teacher)with double bed and set of bunk beds
    •  1 room for Kufuku( Security/ landscaping Manager) dbl bed & bunk beds
    •  1 room for Njamba( assist Lubasi/teacher)- he is good at math
    •  restaurant- 20 tables
    •  retail store
    •  kitchen facilities
    •  laundry facilities
    •  shed to store gardening tools including, pots & seed starter bags for growing
    •  housing for chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, geese
    •  housing for goats
    •  shed to store feed for animals
    •  outdoor covered area for classes
    •  sewing room
    •  car wash area
    •  4-5 class rooms

Lumber Mill

We may also plan to have a lumber mill and send the students to work at the mill.

This is not my area or expertise so I will leave that to you Frederick to look into what we would need and what the start up costs would be.

The only thing I request if we cut trees to mill that we plant two for every one we cut down.

This is the basic plan that I am sure will grow as we think of things we could do.

As I said before it will not happen quickly.

We have to get you a computer so you and I can communicate more easily.

I can get one in Canada for about $450.00 CND or 2.5 million KW but it will cost me $621.00CND or 3.2 million KW approximately to send it by DHL.

Therefore I don’t know if it is better to just wire you the money and you can buy a decent one that works well.

I have to raise the money to do that. I only work part time and I have lost some work recently. I just applied for three positions yesterday so maybe something will come up.

I also have to look into how to start a Non Profit Organization. I will let you know how that goes. Apparently I need a board of directors and they will make all of the decisions.

I hope you and your family are well!

All the best


PS. If you can think of a better name for the Non profit organization I would be happy to hear it. Maybe some thing with Barotseland, Western Province or Silozi?

Additional Thoughts

-we could make a brick coal or wood oven to bake bread etc.

Arts & Crafts

-we will need to make our own signs

    • • Market days & times
    • • Retail store
    • • Boat and bus to market
    • • Furniture for sale
    • • Class room signs

-we can make guava jam, peanut butter and mango chutney

-make cotton mattresses for the beds

-make candles & holders

-bags for people to carry what they purchase

-people can trade goods for product ie food, fish, etc.

The trees that elephants eat.

I know you must think I am crazy but we need to start all the villages west of Mongu planting the trees that elephants eat.

If we put them in pots and when they are about 1 foot high we can take them and sell them to all of the private safari lodges and National Parks who have elephants and plant them in an area that has been stripped of trees.

With out elephants you don’t have tourism.

Western Province does not have elephants west of Mongu so the trees would be safe from Elephants stealing them.

If you plant hot peppers near the trees you are trying to grow the elephants will stay away as they don’t like hot peppers. We can sell them too.

So Frederick we need to start collecting the seeds NOW to plant these trees.

Lumber Mill

Carl thinks it would be best to have a portable mill but this will only do shorter pieces of wood less than 20 feet long. That way we can keep the mill safe by the school and take orders for wood.

We have to look into this because the wood has to age/cure after it is cut so it will not warp. It will probably be faster in Zambia because it is dry there in winter. We will also need a storage facility to keep it dry in the rainy season. Lots to plan, research and think about!

In Canada a portable saw mill costs approximately $23000.00. It is best to fell the trees from December to Feb when it is cold so the sap is down in the roots and then the trees dry more quickly.

Then you mill them in March & April and they cure and are ready to use in  July –November.

I have been in touch with Fredrick by text but it is hard to plan a school that way.

Kalabo High School

I am sorry it has taken so long for me to write again but I have been busy publishing a children’s book on polar bears. I will give you a glimpse after I have finished writing about Africa 2012′. I will have 2000 copies this Friday Dec. 21st. Just in time for Christmas!

It is really wonderful as we are coming into our winter that I am able to look at the pictures of Zambia and immediately feel warm!

This is the building that World Vision left for the Zambian Government and it is now the Kalabo Farmers Association

This is the building that World Vision left for the Zambian Government and it is now the Kalabo Farmers Association

Frederick and Dominic were kind enough to take us to see the High school that Kufuku goes to and is in grade 10 now and grade 11 in 2013 and where Njamba will start grade 10 in January 2013.

The school year runs from January-March, then off in April. Then May-July and off in August. Then September to November and off in December.

Again if you click on the image it should enlarge.

There were maybe 10 students attending class in August when we were there but they had to pay the teachers to teach them. The government does not pay the teachers for summer school. I did meet the Head Master of the school and I told him I had tried to call the school to ask some questions. He told me that the land line for the school was disconnected and he had to use his cell phone for school issues.

I am guessing that there are not many pupils who attend during the school year as not many can afford to go.

The school has great potential, but as always, the lack of funds is evident.

We found out it costs 150,000KW ( 30.00USD) to go to school for one term. Therefore it costs 90.00USD to go for the year. Plus you have to pay for a uniform, shoes, food and accommodation if you need it.

It will cost 450,000KW (90.00USD) to board for one term. Therefore the cost is 270USD for one year boarding. Plus uniform, shoes and cell phone as that is how everyone communicates in Kalabo due to the lack of mail service. Even the cell phone network is iffy at best.

After speaking with Dominic I determined that Kafuku would help his father bring in the maize and rice crops and his father would give him some money for school. Kufuku then made his way somehow ( either walk or oxen & cart) to Kalabo which is if I remember correctly, at least an hours drive by 4×4, maybe two, on sand from his village to Kalabo. As I previously mentioned it took the family and Mualuka 6 hours by dug out canoe to get from their village to Kalabo and 10 hours home against the current.

So on our last night at Nyoka Guest House in Kalabo, Carl & I sat with Fredrick, Mulaluka and Dominic in the dark outside after dinner and made our presentations.

I told Dominic that we wanted to help send Njamba to high school. I handed him an envelope with enough money for Kufuku to go to grades 11 & 12 and Njamba to go to grades 10,11 & 12. We also gave Mualuka the equivalent of 100USD for being a great interpreter and link to my family in Zambia.

Dominic had also told me as we were walking the previous day that two of their four oxen had died. These animals are vital to getting the crops to market. Therefore Carl & I gave Dominic the equivalent of 300USD to buy a new oxen.

So I felt good! I had accomplished what I had come to do and started over one and one half years prior to today.

When I started sponsoring Njamba I had commited in my heart to seeing it through until the end. I wanted to pay for his whole education, at least through high school. I originally wanted to pay for Ngebe to go to high school as well but she became pregnant so I left her a note saying I missed seeing her and Mum but to keep on reading.

I found out in October from Fredrick that Ngebe’s baby died. I was heart broken for her! Apparently she was having a rough time and was depressed but she is coming out of it and getting better. Having a child is very important in an African family as the parents will have someone to look after them when they are old. There are no pensions or RSP savings, so your children are it.

I wish Ngebe all the best and I hope she continues her education. When I saw her in 2011 she was in grade 7 and 16 years old. I am sure I will continue to find out how she is doing through Fredrick.

We all hugged and went off to bed for our last night in Kalabo. I am sure that Dominic and the boys were ecstatic when they opened their envelopes that evening in their chalets. The next day he presented his appreciation in a wonderful speech which will be in the next blog. Sorry I have to go to bed!

Sleep well all!

Gideon- Liuwa Plains Poacher turned Conservation Officer

Here is another small world story!

When I went to meet Njamba the first time in August 2011 I was told by World vision that I would get a tour of what World Vision has built and done in the community and that afternoon go visit my sponsored child for about three hours.

Well! I thought to myself( or maybe even said it out loud), that there was no way I was traveling all that way to meet with him for just three hours. I asked if there was something we could all do locally and I would cover the cost. I wanted to take the family to Livingstone to see the Victoria Falls, One of the seven wonders of the world but that was too costly and it was at least a 10 hour drive on a sand road.

So my wonderful David, Sponsorship Facilitator for World Vision, after speaking with Dominic, suggested we go to the remote Liuwa Plains National Park. I thought it was a great idea. Njamba, his mom, twin sister, Mualuka, David, Max, Jami and I all piled into the World Vision 4 x 4 vehicle and off we went.

It cost 40,000KW (about 8USD) to take the vehicle across the Zambezi River and then a 12KM drive to the park boundary. The cost to get into the park was 200,000KW ( 40USD) for Jami & I and 20,000KW ( about 4USD) for residents of Zambia. Well worth the cost!

You have to have a guide who carries a big gun just in case he has to scare an animal who gets too close. That rarely happens though as you have to be really quiet when you spot some animals so you don’t scare them away. This is a really remote park and one of the few ” Real Africa” experiences left . We didn’t even see another vehicle during our travels in the park.

We were fortunate to have Gideon as our guide. You can read more and see the video in the blog from last year at Plains National Park.

Gideon was amazing on our tour and answered all of our questions about all of the animals especially the Wildebeast Migration from Angola. Gideon told us that he had been there the day before and the Wildebeast had not yet started arriving. Well, I am blessed, because the day we were there, there were thousands. Quite a site to see.

I had hoped to see Gideon again on this trip and here is a prime example of “think and that is the way you shall go” because as we were walking down the street there was Gideon walking with his mother. I called out his name in the street and it was precious to see the look on his face. He remembered me as being the woman that was with “Jami”. He found her very attractive and asked how she was doing.

Unfortunately he had just left his fathers funeral and so I invited him to come back for dinner at Nyoka Guest House later.

Gideon showed up and we showed him all of the pictures from that trip. He asked if he could have the one of Jami and Dominic said it was OK as I had given all of the pictures, at least 200 of them to the family.

As I was cooking dinner, Carl showed Gideon the videos I had done in last years blog and Gideon told him how he became a conservation office. Apparently Gideon used to go hunting with his father. They were poachers. If you could see Western Province you would understand why. Not that I am condoning it by any means but the people have to survive. The closest grocery store” Shoprite” is 75KM away in Mongu. They have small shops in Kalabo with limited inventory.

Thanks to African Parks  they have hired the poachers to protect the animals and catch the poachers. Gideon is a perfect candidate. He already knows the park, where the animals can be found and how the poachers work. He is hoping to go to formalize his education and go to University and learn as much as he can about the animals he protects. It is very difficult for him to save money as he doesn’t take out tourists every day. Carl gave him $50USD towards his education. Carl said to me” You sponsor Njamba and I sponsor Gideon”. It is very easy to get attached and let these people into your heart.

While we were all sitting in front of the restaurant Nyoka guest house is building, Gideon told us about Herbert Brauer who originally came to Liuwa to film hyenas. When Gideon mentioned the name Brauer, I recognized it and exclaimed ” I know him” He is the one that filmed Lady Liuwa”! Mualuka laughed and I explained that I knew of him, I didn’t know him personally. Gideon told us that Herbert wanted him to get as close to the hyenas as he possibly could He was crouched down about 2 feet away from a hyena and it was captured on film. Hyena’s have the strongest jaw in the wild kingdom and they eat all of the animal. including the bones. They call Hyenas stool, African chalk as the calcium makes it white.

While I was cooking dinner in my make shift out door kitchen, ( it was pitch black out so thank goodness Carl lent me his head lamp) Gideon sat with me and told me all about his life in Kalabo and we talked about ” Lady Liuwa”. If you haven’t seen the video it is so worth the watch. “The Last Lioness” on U Tube.  I told him I was going to email Herbert Brauer to see if I could get a copy of ” Bonecrusher Queens” the video about hyenas for him.

When I got home I emailed the university in Johannesburg where he works and this is the response I got.

Morro Joanna,

good to hear you’ve been to Liuwa and clearly enjoyed it from what I gather.  Liuwa is an interesting place, very demanding, always do I walk away with more than I came but one has to be open and aware of her teachings.

Do you live in California?  A friend of mine from California comes visiting in November, I’ll ask him to take a copy of Bronecrusher Queens along and send it to you from San Jose.

All the best,


I forwarded this email to the Liuwa headquarters, as Gideon doesn’t have a computer, so he would know I had been in touch with Herbert.

I have not received the copy yet but my fingers are crossed.

I will let you know when I get it!

Two Busy Days In Kalabo

The next two days were really busy!

After Carl & I unpacked and had a shower I marinated the steaks for dinner. This is my mothers signature dish. Here is the menu we had for the next 3 days all cooked on two round BBQ’s. A BBQ in Africa is called a Braai.

Menu for Kalabo

L- packed lunch from Kilimanjaro for Frederick, Carl & I.

D-We arrived late so they all ate in a neighbouring restaurant. I didn’t realize there were two restaurants in Kalabo. After we opened the gifts I made everyone a peanut butter & banana sandwich.

Sun      B-The family had eggs and buns served by the Community Guest House

L-Burgers, fried onions and BBQ sauce

D-soya sauce, garlic, brown sugar marinated steak, potatoes & onions in tin foil, spinach salad with Canned peaches.( the syrup served as the salad dressing). They had never tried peaches before.   Snack- avocado, corn salsa, bread

Monday-    B-pancakes, streaky bacon, maple syrup(Canada)

L- chili, peppers, carrots, onions, kidney beans.

D-curried rice with nuts & raisins, BBQ chicken

Snack-peanut butter banana, jam or honey wraps

Tuesday-   B scrambled eggs with cheese

Mualuka wanted to take us to the river and show us how the local people cross. There is also a pontoon boat for vehicles that need to get to the Liuwa Plains National Park to go on Safari.

The boys played soccer with the ball we brought while we waited for Dominic to return where he visited a friend’s wife who was in the hospital.

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I was so happy to meet Mualuka’s wife and youngest daughter. He has a set of triplets who are about 4 years old and I thought it was three girls so I brought 3 little dresses, 3 red hoodies and some colouring books & crayons. It turns out the triplets were two girls and a boy. I felt so bad but Mualuka in his always gracious way he said” That’s OK. Don’t worry, I can give the other dress to the youngest girl”. I said maybe Njamba would have some thing he could give to your son.

I tried to start cooking dinner early as it gets dark around 6pm and we didn’t have time for lunch. I think they only eat breakfast and dinner there anyway but we were so busy I didn’t have time to make anything.

Crossing the Zambezi River

We finally made it to the pontoon crossing and I had two curious fellows present themselves to me who were trying to better their english. We managed to communicate very well considering.

Every time I said some thing the boys would repeat it. I would ask ” What is your name?” and they would repeat it. Finally after doing this many times, by pointing to myself and saying”Joe” they realized and pointed to themselves and said their names. We had many laughs and great fun. It was starting to get dark and we still had a long way to go.

I am not sure if I mentioned the fact that I was planning to cook dinner for every one that evening on two globe like aluminum BBQ’s I had brought from Canada. It looked like I would be cooking in the dark.

We crossed the Zambezi and passed through another sandy, grassy area and it was a little nerve wracking, especially for Frederick as he was driving. We could barely see where we were going and what path to take. Well we took a wrong one and got stuck.This is a picture of the underside of the car resting on sand. I don’t have any other pictures of this situation as we were all digging out. It was getting darker and darker and we were in the middle of nowhere. I had visions of us spending the night in the car with the doors locked and windows up to keep the bugs out. There aren’t really that many insects this time of year but still a few. Luckily it cools down in the evenings and we had all of our luggage with us.

Here we were on this one lane sand (beach like) road with tall grasses all around us, in the dark and I saw two lights bouncing in and out towards us from quite a distance away. Part of me wanted to scream for help to attract their attention and part  hoped they would go down another path as there was no way they would get by our vehicle. The lights disappeared so I thought we had lost them then out of nowhere I see is this huge truck coming down our path about 30 ft. away. It stopped and three men got out and started talking to Frederick. The driver and owner of the truck said to me” you are carrying too much luggage!”. I agreed.He seemed very nice so I was a little more at ease.

Luckily Frederick new him. Frederick new everyone! In Zambia there are still Cheifs and Heads of the community.Frederick is a Head and very well respected so I was so pleased that Max had put us in contact with him. I knew we would be safe.

We all used feet and hands and muscle to flatten the sand so it could be driven over and finally after about half an hour and a couple of pushes by all the men the car was free.

I gave the driver 70,000kw (14USD) and told him to share it with his men as that was all I could fine in my bag in the dark. He said” you don’t have to pay for our help” and I said” But I want to, Thank you very much”. That is how it works over there on that long stretch of sand road, everyone helps everyone else.

We finally made it to Kalabo at around 8:30pm. That was 141/2 hrs after we left Lusaka.

Along the way we got a call from Mualuka saying that because we had not arrived at our guest house  the woman running it gave our rooms away. I took a deep breath and asked” Where will we stay then?” and Frederick said they were all at the guest house that World Vision had built which the community was running now. I felt relieved that we had a place to stay and was looking forward to getting anywhere.

Apparently they had all eaten in a restaurant next to the guest house. I wondered who had paid for it as I knew they didn’t have any money. I expected to pay when I got there. This was an expense I hadn’t counted on.

We pulled up to the gate of the guest house and I jumped out of the car to open it.

It was pitch black out as we pulled up to the building. There are no street lights in Kalabo , just beautiful stars.

The family was not there yet so I waited with a longing in my stomach and the blood pumping fast to my heart. Almost 1 year ago, less 3 days, I had met Njamba  for the first time with his mother and twin sister. He would now be 17 years old.

We parked in front of this long hallway with rooms on either side and the car lights shone into the guest house. It certainly wasn’t the ritz, but we would make the best of it. I was hoping we could move to Nyoka Guest House for the remaining 3 days as I had stayed there last year and it was quite nice and I was comfortable there.

I turned around and looked into the black night and saw 5 shadows behind me. One of them yelled, Joanna and Mualuka rushed at me with a big hug! I said Hello! It is so good to see you, even though I could barely see him. I then looked to my left and tried to see who else was there. I said” Njamba?” and he bounced out of the line and came and gave me a big hug and that familiar deep laugh of his. His laugh was familiar as I had watched the video we had taken last year so many times.

I was then introduced to Dominic, his father, Kufuku, his older brother and Mutiowa, his younger brother even though I could barely see their faces. Carl was introduced and shook all of their hands.

I said lets move inside so I can see you all, so we did!