Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The village visits are here!

Last week went by being busy with my studies, but we managed to proceed little with the project planning. Last Thursday we had a meeting with Antje, a lady organizing women groups in Matemwe. We were mostly interested about a women group called DADA, which produces food products, like jams, pastas, dried vegetables, sauces, etc from organically grown materials to the urban markets of Zanzibar Town. She kindly promised to share their know-how in drying, packaging and processing of vegetables and provided us with a list of agricultural products that could be sold directly to DADA groups. Besides the actual support, she gave us a good example how thinks can be done sustainably. The range of usable plants and the versatility of already used plants she know was astonishing, not even mentioning her house that got all the required water from the rains and energy from the sun. Talking with her gave us some new creative ideas and made me remember that question of sustainable way of living is not only an issue that needs to be promoted in the Western world, but also elsewhere.

This week, actually today we started the village visits from Bambi and Tunduni. We visited the dairy goat group and two vegetable groups in Bambi. I was sorry to hear that although the goats were able to breed the kids died before growing up. Hopefully this is a problem we can help with the new project. We arranged a meeting in the villages to introduce our new idea, get direct comments from stakeholders, ask about the problems facing food security and list the groups interested in our new project. Luckily Othman translated to me again, but I think he skipped some of the jokes about the weird mzungu :D Majority of the groups were the same we worked in Live project, but I was happy to see there were some new ones also.

There were some obvious differences between the villages. For example in Bambi the demand was for larger projects that would cover the whole community while in Tunduni participants questioned the functionality of group farming and wanted to support individuals. But altogether the problems in food production were quite similar: poor quality of seeds, not enough fertilizers, pests, lack of training, poor tools, etc…

Weird dreams caused by the malaria medication made me little tired today, but hopefully I’m bit more energetic during the field visits tomorrow.

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