Hello, we have vegetables!
For those of you that are still interested in the results of the work we are doing I will try to write a little bit here. I visited the Sand Dams communities in Tete Province a week ago and once again a lot of exciting things are happening there. We were in the process of moving our new engineer, John Viducich, to Tete and showing him the communities where he will be working. Where last year there were maybe 5-6 vegetable fields, now there are 95 families with 95 vegetable plots along the banks of the river. We are now 5-6 months into the dry season and the water is still a meter below the surface in many places. This is hugely important for the irrigation of these plants. The results were amazing and I saw new techniques being applied. People were learning how to use manure, mulches, how to stake and thin tomato plants (using several different methods), to grow bananas, sugar cane, papayas, lemons and tangerines. The animals also have more water to drink and the manure deposited along the banks of the river can be used for the vegetables in the future.
This is the first dam in Dzunga. Two other dams are now constructed and 3 more trenches are dug and construction should be commencing in a week or two. These will await the coming rains and the results will become much clearer over the next couple of years as the dams begin to fill the aquifer and ground water becomes a more permanent reality. The people of the communities are in the process of opening fields around the dams and putting fences up to protect the fields from the animals in expectation of the water to come that will be used for irrigation of vegetables and fruit trees.
CCM has opened up several fields to multiply sweet potato and manioc, two drought resistant, staple food crops, that are non-existent in the communities but are familiar foods for people in that they will be easy to introduce and will produce food for the difficult hungry season each year in hopes to stop the chronic hunger that occurs several months of each year.
Over all, I can say that our partner the Christian Council of Mozambique with funds from MCC and CFGB has now built 18 dams with 8 more in construction for this year. At this point 4 are retaining water but the rest will be ready to collect rains this year and we hope to have at least quadrupled this number by next year if not more. The dams are creating a lot of interest in the country and the Government has started to take notice. At first they were very skeptical and told us they did not want dams that hold sand, but that hold water because these communities need water for their livestock which is the biggest agriculture activity in the district. A year later and the Government is quite excited about the results and increasingly they are asking to visit the sites, including people from the National Government in Maputo and the Governor of the Province. Our hope is that this technology will spread and others will take on this work so that together we can bring food to those who are suffering.
We are truly thankful that God is moving in this way and are excited to be a part of what he is doing for the people of these communities.