Hi Anna, I'm guessing the one follower is you since Jeff is beside me talking about the ginormous gecko in his email. And if it's not you, hello one follower! If you've come across the blog, stay and read about our times here in Malawi.
Today was a very good day. One of those days that makes you put your faith back in humanity, rather than writing out the withdrawl slip. I would like to put a shout out for the most under-rated (unintentional) by-product out there....shade.
Our nights usually involve hitting the sack at about 9 -10 pm. No lie. and for the past couple of nights it's a toss-up when we get up. We either dzuka (get up) at the first or second crow of the rooster, wherever he is. Or when the muzzain (call to prayer) kicks off at 4 or 5am. we don't quite know when. after breakfast we booked it to the Kamanzi district to the village for the day.
As soon as we turned into the village, there was fantastic singing, dancing, and lots of little kids chasing after the van. I'm not sure if it was muzunga, or uzungu, but it was definitely 'whitey' they were saying. We sat thankfully under a giant tree while the introductions of the chiefs, and community groups and leaders went on, being very much the honoured guests.
The first item on the list for the day was showing us what work the NRD (Nkoma Relief and Development--the group we'll be partnering with) has taught them, which was how to differentiate the crops, and use the crops--specifically soya-- to better nurish their children. They were also taught to rotate their crops and not to rely constantly upon the omni-revered maize with which they make Sima, their meat and potatoes.
We saw a play that they put on that described what they had learned from the classes and even without translation, one could get a good laugh out of it.
They then prepared soya in all the different ways, which is more than i could have thought. (one could think of bubba from forest gump here) there's soya sima, soya beans, soya garnish, soya meat, soya cake, soya porridge, soya coffee.......
They are waiting for me for supper. I shall return...which I have. And I see in the meantime that we have two more followers! If only my complaining anywhere else produced such results!!
Anyway, after that we had some lunch. We dined on the famous nsima, chicken, and rice. Nsima could best be described as stickier, thicker cream of wheat. it wasn't bad. Like many things, lunch ran a bit late and after we were finished we were able to check out some of the fields used in NRD's new projects. The two specifically we saw were a bean field and a cassava field. They would briefly describe how the got the seed--which programmes, etc., when and how often they planted. I suppose on the way to the fields we broke rule #1 in africa. no more than 17 people plus babies in a van. I was convinced that we left half of the undercarriage on the plains somewhere, but our faithful driver Macson guided us safely, with all parts intact home.
If today, is any indication, I think that this programme is almost exactly like the one we had set out to find from the beginning. The farming, nutrition, and income generating aspects of Ubuntu looks to be off to a good start. Hanna Banda, the community development facilitator has done an exceptional job with the task she has been given.