Tag Archives: The Mongu-Kalabo Road

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 http://www.sendseedstoafrica.org.

Thanks Joanne

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Compost making in a hot climate

I am so excited!

We are well under way in Zambia.

Fredrick has finally got the computer and printer set up. I sent him the money to buy a computer so I could send him articles and instructions of how to grow many things. It probably would have been less expensive and a newer computer if I had bought it here but it was going to cost me more to send it than purchasing the computer.

He has printed off the step by step instructions on how to make a compost pit in a hot climate like Zambia. They certainly don’t waste anything over there as all of the food scraps, if there are any, would go to the dogs, chickens, oxen or cattle.

Growing-trees-under-Chitanthali-Malawi

This is a chicken proof stand to grow seedlings. Note the roof over head to give some relief from the hot sun and the chickens cannot steal the young plants.

This picture is compliments of Ripple Africa and so is the composting process which Fredrick is using in Zambia.

COMPOST MAKING

  • Compost: Compost needs to be made in April so that it is ready for tube filling in June

( compost can be ready for use in six weeks). Typically, compost should be made in pits

– a pit of 2 metres( 6 1/2 ft.)  long by 1 metre (3 ¼ ft) wide and I metre ( 3 ¼ ft) deep will produce enough compost for up to 8,000 small polythene tubes.

  • Compost making process: The first layer in the bottom of the pit is 10cm (4 inches) of forest or dambo soil. The second layer is 10cm (4 inches) of leaves or grass which should be compacted by walking on top of it. The third layer is 10 cm (4 inches) of manure. Except for the first layer, each layer should be watered with three watering cans of water before adding the next layer. These layers are then repeated in the same order until the pit is full. Normally. There will be three layers of each material in a 1 metre deep pit. The compost pit should be completed with a final 10cm (4inches) layer of soil which is compacted by walking on it, and the finished compost heap should be the same level as the surrounding ground.

Compost Layers

Final Layer- Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10 cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm

Tube filling mix

Dambo soil 2 parts

Compost 2 parts

Sand 1 part

Compost provides the nutrients for the tree seedlings and vegetable seeds. This picture is also from Ripple Africa.org.

Mwaya-fruit-tree-nursery-Ripple-Africa

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.

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

CLASSES

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

Quilting

-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

-math

-draw fake money to use for practice in restaurant

English

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

Cooking

-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

Electrical

-Learn the basics of electrical

-computer cables

-solar power

Plumbing

-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

-irrigation

Restaurant

-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

-inventory

-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

-choir

-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

Joanne

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.

The Road back to Lusaka

We left Kalabo around 1pm as we decided that it would be better to stay in Mongu for a night rather than try to make the long trek back to Lusaka all in one day. The date is August 21,2012.

Here is a portion of the road from Kalabo to the sand road to Mongu.

Then we set out across the sand road and were able to see where we were going to avoid getting stuck. With some help from local fisherman we made it through.

Here is part of our 3 hour journey.

This is just a fraction of the road and what we taped but I think you get the idea.

It certainly was an adventure!

We stayed in Mongu Country Lodge which was very nice and then headed out the next day back to Lusaka.

IMG_9897

Video

Our last day in Kalabo

Well I am getting close to the end of our visit in Kalabo.

I got up early on Tuesday morning and made scrambled eggs with cheese and let Carl have a bit of a sleep in. You have to remember that we have not had coffee for 3 days now.

The sun coming up beside our chalet.

The sun coming up beside our chalet.

IMG_9863

Scrambled egg making with just me and the wandering chickens

Then we all sat in front of our chalet and I explained what all of the medical supplies were for. Advil night time, advil cold & sinus, regular advil, etc.

Mualuka then said that Dominic wanted us to come to there chalet as he had something to say and here is what he said.

What more can I say?

I was trying very hard not to get emotional on this trip.

I felt good because I had accomplished what we had set out to do. I do wish though that we had talked more. It was a busy trip as we spent most of our time cooking but well worth it.

We watched them pack all of their suit cases in Fredrick’s car to take them to Mualuka’s canoe. They had a 10 hour paddle up river to get home.

We left ourselves and started on our way back to Lusaka.

I have to tell you about our trip back, but not tonight.

I will write soon.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Joanne

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!