Sometimes you don´t know, how it happens, sometimes it´s just the right moment. The right people at the right place, the energy is focussed and it starts!
The Milangu community is a traditional village 30 km abroad from Livingstone. We are standing at the only well, build in the 70th, supplying water for 500 people…
…if you believe it or not: the government just drilled another bore hole JUST BESIDE this one, who ever knows the reason! ….
The water is pulled up by hand work and its only allowed to use as drinking water. So the cattle must be brought 10 km away to soak.
Besides most of the livestock died a long time ago because of the foot-and-mouth disease. Also after that time, all the cattle still died because of this disease. Now they are dipping the cattle one time a year in a medicinal solution and it seems to help. But very few people have enough or even at all money to buy livestock again.
The village people depends therefore fully on their crop. That´s hard, also because it rains only one time a year and the soil is sandy and poor, so the water just rushes away.
First meeting with around 10 farmers from the village. We were looking a permaculture film and discussing the farming possibilities for the area. The biggest problems are indeed water harvesting and soil building. The farmers are enthusiastic about the new ways of farming and the technologies possible.
David and Kingsley with freshly harvested sugar cane. Kingsley is a business man, but he is a farmer by heart, he wants to return to the village and become a farmer. He already built this nice traditional house and made different fields for maize, sugar cane and other crops.
The field, we are standing on, is near the well and on low ground, so the water supply is better than in the surrounding. It´s the place for the first food forest in the village. Greenpop, an african tree planting organisation with a offshot in Livingstone, will help to design it.
While we were standing there one of the few cattle came through. That´s a problem, because the free-living cattle eat want they want and lumber the crop down.
David, Stanley, Ammon and Francis are determined to improve the situation for the community.
Playing Morabaraba with Gideon. He is one of the old skillful farmers. He performs traditional raised beds with great success:
You can see sweet potatoes, beans and sorghum, which grow without any water. Making the beds you just throw all the weeds at the bottom and cover it with soil.
David, who is working at Livingstone, with his 8-year-old twins and his mother. She lives alone, so Gideon is helping her with the fields. Ubuntu (I am because we are) what means to care and to share, is still valuable in the community.
The first raised beds
We made them at Stanley’s, who lives with his wife and by heart adopted child in a beautiful clay house.
He made fancy recycling seats out of stable branches and used sacks, comfortable!
We collected thick and thinner trumps and covered them with sticks and dry weeds. Then we picked green leaves and placed them onto the beds.
We covered with the beds with soil from the edge, making a ditch around them on same time. More and more people from the village emerged and observed us.
Francis brought reed from an old roof. We placed it on the beds alternating with the green leaves.
Ready! Proudly the team presents behind the new raised beds.
Kingsley explains the advantages of mulching: Covering the soil against heat, bringing green manure and storing the damp in the soil (if there is any!), the children are listening attentive. Behind the raised beds we started a compost, too.
Everybody is very proud and happy. We worked nicely together and had in between a traditional supper in the shade of the mango tree.
There we discussed the next steps. Two of the farmers will make a sustainable agriculture course in the Kusamala institute for Agriculture in Lusaka (also described in this blog). The NGO Greenpop will collect some farmers to show them a nearby food forest and make workshops for rocket stoves and solar cookers.
David and me will explore more permaculture sites to get good examples and advises from experts, you can read about in future posts.
On the land is a big baobab tree, too. He is probably over 1000 years old. In bygone days the village people met around.
Here some green fruits in between other traditional nuts. The fruits of the baobab are very healthy.
Baobab (Adansonia digitata) is a tree native to certain tropical regions in Africa, including South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. Baobab trees produce fruit with a powdery pulp found to contain high amounts of vitamin C. Often consumed as a food or added to beverages, baobab fruit is sometimes used for medicinal purposes.
Uses for Baobab
In traditional African medicine, baobab fruit is used to treat a number of illnesses (including asthma, fever, diarrhea, malaria and smallpox). In addition, practitioners of traditional African medicine often use baobab fruit to curb inflammation.
In recent years, manufacturers have begun adding baobab fruit to juices, energy drinks, energy bars and dietary supplements. Often marketed as a “superfruit,” baobab is typically touted as a rich source of antioxidants. For instance, baobab is sometimes said to contain greater amounts of vitamin C than oranges and other citrus fruits.
Baobab-containing products are often marketed as a rich source of antioxidants. Some proponents claim that, due to their antioxidant content, products made with baobab fruit can help slow the aging process and protect against major illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Baobab is also said to protect against inflammation-related conditions (including type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and allergies, as well as heart disease and cancer).
Additionally, baobab fruit is sometimes used as an ingredient in skin-care, hair-care and body-care products. Some personal-care products contain baobab oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the baobab tree. Research shows that baobab seeds are rich in essential fatty acids (such as linoleic acid) that may help improve the skin.
Benefits of Baobab
To date, very few scientific studies have tested the potential health benefits of baobab fruit. The available research includes a 2009 report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Looking at data on the nutritional properties of baobab, the report’s authors found that baobab fruit is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C. However, since little is known about how efficiently the human body can absorb the antioxidants found in baobab fruit, the report’s authors call for more research on the health effects of consuming baobab.
In an earlier report (published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition in 2004), scientists determined that baobab fruit contains significant amounts of essential minerals (including calcium, potassium, and magnesium).