The upcoming garden work was also not neglected while I was on site in December 2020. The garden was overgrown with grass, which we weeded.
As soon as the garden was prepared, I began sowing the various seeds.Since there are no plant seedlings in Namibia, I sowed the seeds cabbage, pumpkin, beans, peanuts, melons, onions and ocra directly into the sandy soil with the hope that it will grow.
The little wooden sticks mark the seed course so the seedlings don't get plucked out as weeds, because I've had that experience many times in my gardening and Diana was deliciously amused that I couldn't tell Mutete from weeds.
With the onset of the rainy season, the sown seeds grow very well. Soon mutete can be harvested. Pumpkin, corn, okra and melons are growing, but also the weeds , bush and shrubs, so that continues to require a lot of work in the garden.
Due to the lack of experience in farming, the workers' efforts were not rewarded and the yields were minimal. To compensate for this lack of knowledge, we will now hire two farmers to train our workers and help them manage the enlarged garden and adjacent fields.
Before that, however, the whole property must be fenced to keep the animals away from the plants.
Since mid-July, we have been receiving assistance in the construction of our expanded garden from two local farmers who are training our men in agriculture. They started building the protective fences around the garden. They needed a wire mesh fence for this so that even the small chickens and ducks cannot get into the garden to devour the small plants.
To fertilize the soil, we rented a bakkie to collect manure from the surrounding area and work it into the soil.
In the meantime, they sowed the seedlings to plant out later.
The biggest challenge remains the irrigation of the garden.
Laying the irrigation system is now a high priority in our project work. Watering only with a garden hose is not possible because the water pressure is too low.
We started laying the hose system, but soon realized that we had too few lines. Again we had to go to Rundu to get more material. We also bought a generator so that we can build up enough pressure to irrigate the whole plant.
In the next few days, the workers will start laying the pipes.
The work on the project land has aroused the curiosity and interest of people in the neighborhood. The timid requests to help out on the land are piling up 😊.
To water the garden sufficiently, we bought and laid more pipes at the end of August. Already the seedlings are growing and thriving.
With the small truck now roadworthy, the workers were able to bring more fertilizer to the land and work it into the soil.
The access road to the planting site is only sand and the small truck often got stuck in the sandy track and had to be dug out. Costody and the workers now decided to level the road with stone-covered soil.
Again and again, the workers collect fertilizer and work it into the soil. In addition to the two hired farmers, more local residents who want to learn more about farming, gain experience and help out in the field are now coming.
At the end of each month the wages are paid. The workers travel together to Divundu and are paid and at the same time maize flour and other food is procured, which must suffice the whole next month. The way to Divundu is about 27 km and difficult to reach without transportation. Often people stand on the side of the road for hours hoping for a ride. Therefore, we are very grateful for the small truck that is now roadworthy. A big wish of the surrounding inhabitants is to have a closer shopping possibility.
The workers' efforts have paid off only to the extent that they can supply themselves with vegetables. They were not able to generate a larger yield. The reasons are mainly the lack of irrigation of the garden. Unfortunately, the thriving cabbages were also attacked by caterpillars and died as a result.
The balance between the irrigation of the garden and the water delivery to the residents is always much talked about and often meets with incomprehension from the residents.
In order to clarify these circumstances, we held a meeting with the residents of the neighboring settlements about the newly established conditions of water supply. We informed them that we were able to build the project with donations and that it is now up to them to ensure that they get their water close to home in the long term. We set the monthly price for drinking water per family at N$100. The families who agreed to this had to confirm this with a signature.
The payment must be made by the 15th of the current month and is confirmed with a receipt. The water purchase is possible only on presentation of the receipt and is not transferable to others.
In order to use the water carefully and responsibly, from now on it is not allowed to wash clothes at the water point. Also the animal herds may no longer be watered there.
The meeting also discussed the water theft that happened recently that night. Despite a closure, two people were able to open the tap and draw water. Unfortunately, they couldn't close the tap completely and the water ran out all night. A water supply ban of 2 weeks was imposed on the two persons.
Then we built an additional lock in the water pipe, which separates the access between the reference point and the house / garden, so that we have double security of the water point and can still supply the garden and the house with water.
The radio interview with this woman also gave rise to discussion. She said on the local radio that she had to pay to get water from us. That is not correct, because the local authority is responsible for the water supply of their population and does nothing to supply the rural population with water, rather it is private investors who look for the well-being of the people.
The gratitude for what our project is doing for these people was particularly evident in personal conversations after the meeting.
At the end of November we were grateful to receive another donation, which we can now use to build a second 10,000 liter water tank.
We were able to buy the required material in Rundu and transport it to Kangumbe with our small truck.
We know that our project is perceived and discussed in many ways in the district of Mukwe. Most of the comments are benevolent, which makes us very happy. Especially the surrounding villages know what we are doing for the region and how much hard work is behind it. Nevertheless, we had not expected the visit of the regional council. He visited us early in the morning and found out about our project and what impact it has on the surrounding settlements. He made a video recording, these are available in the news section.
Costody Malasa was invited the next day to the Economic and Population Development meeting in Mukwe district, which was to be held in the Max Makushe School building.
There he was informed that our project will receive an award because of our commitment to the welfare of the people in our area and to provide them with access to clean drinking water.
Gratefully and with pride we accept this certificate and will continue to work with much vigor for our project and the affected villages in our area.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support! Only together could we continue to work on the implementation of the goals this year and do something good on a small way .
The challenges in the new year started early, because when the scaffolding of the water tank was erected, the search for a long ladder began. Finally, we found one in Divundu, but the workers still had to climb the last piece to weld on the floor at a height of 5 meters with metal rods.
Once the tank's scaffold was stable enough, the next challenge lay ahead. After several attempts to pull the tank onto the scaffold using only muscle power, another solution had to be found. A car was additionally taken to help, but this attempt also failed. The simplest but most challenging solution was a crane to lift the tank into the air.
To keep costs down, the simplest solution was to stop a truck with a lifting crane on the road and ask it for help.We succeeded in doing this and were able to lift the tank to the 5 m high level in mid-February.
The cultivation of the garden continues to run satisfactorily. We have enough vegetables for self-sufficiency, which is a partial goal of our project. The next step is to increase the production so that we can sell the vegetables and with the proceeds buy new seeds and if possible pay the employees.
Thanks to the rainy season we have water at all times and we protect the young plants with a net against the African sun.
The neighboring settlements are moving closer and closer to our property, probably to shorten their distances to fetch water. Therefore, we have begun to fence the entire property. Trees were cut down, their branches made into stakes and pulled with cows to the distant borders of our property, buried and held together with wire.
To prevent the trees from sprouting again, the stump and roots are dug up and cut each time. The youth team of the local soccer club helped us again to clear the paths from brush and bushes.
With the second water tank that we were able to install at the beginning of the year, the question of how to distribute the water became unnecessary. We now have enough water reserves to supply the settlements with water and at the same time to cultivate the increasingly thriving garden.
As the garden work and its harvests become only visible, the joy about it is great and the variants of the meals are already much bigger than a year ago.
Project news are continuously updated.
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