A fair degree of excitement was caused by the arrival of 4 x 25,000L water tanks kindly donated with money from the UK.
No, not a giant Dutch licorice … a 25,000L plastic water tank. Installation work to construct concrete/brick bases and install the gutters and downpipes is also underway. Here’s the team at work.
To finish that work we need to secure the tanks with some fencing, dig two trenches and install pipes and taps etc to get the water from the tanks down to the Large Vegetable Garden (LVG).
Speaking of which, the LVG has started, a bit earlier than we originally planned. Our newest volunteer Carl has arrived and is focusing on the LVG at the moment. The preparation of the ground, to remove all the kikuyu and elephant grasses, is a monster task that we have hired a labourer to do – the fact that she is a 60-year old woman has not seemed to slow progress! As she gets an area cleared, we are moving in behind to have a second go at the Kikuyu and to establish the paths and beds ready for planting. We know what we will be planting, (cabbage, eggplant, silverbeet, beans, nakati, ddodo, carrots and a border all around of comfrey and pineapple(!) to try and form a barrier against weed/grass invasion) but we’re just not sure what will go in first as the wet season approaches, we need some advice from the locals.
Starting next week, the Agriculture classes (three of them) will be spending one lesson each week in the LVG with us, and so we have decided to invest in a swathe of new tools, so we can keep a class of 30+ occupied and productive while they are with us. We have sent out an appeal to our friends and colleagues for a few hundred dollars to help us pay for this unplanned spending.
The next big projects are the new Chicken System and the Volunteer Accommodation. The Chicken System has had a lot of discussion and the ideas are taking shape, it will have 90 chickens divided into several locks, separated into their own shed areas and straw yards planted up with medicinal herbs and chicken food. The straw yards will be adjacent to three fenced vegetable growing areas where the chickens can free-range between harvests. The purpose of the system is primarily to produce eggs for the children, with ‘extras’ being sold to cover costs or to hatch for replacement hens. Jude, the Agricultural Teacher, is keen for the children to learn about the care and maintenance of this type of system so we hope to find some really keen children who become pivotal to the ongoing success of this system.
The Volunteer Accommodation will be in ‘Ugandan style’, i.e. round ‘bandas’ with grass roofing. The probable configuration of the first stage will include one banda for a couple, one with two bunk beds (i.e. 4 people in peak times), and a smaller one that functions as a shared bathroom, with a shower and composting toilet. Just maybe, if funds permit, they will have solar lighting and piped water from a tank off the Dining Room roof.
With the Mandala Garden an educative process is ongoing to stop the dumping of rubbish and breakage of support structures.
That’s enough about the project. The Wet Season seems to have started, with luck all the tanks will be in place and catching the rain, and the Large Vegetable Garden will be planted out (at least in part) to take advantage of the rain. We continue to enjoy the community at Sabina although we still need convincing about twice-daily rations of posho and beans. This is a fascinating place and we are very glad for the adventure and the chance to get to know the kids, teachers, staff, volunteers from around the world and the village community.
Best wishes to all
Clive and Kim.