I meant to write weeks ago about my trip to Tete and Manica to see the sand dams and agriculture but life got in the way. I had a wonderful time riding around on a motorcycle with Jon, except for our accident at the end which left us only a little bloodied but with the joy of pushing a broken motorcycle 8 kilometers to the main highway where help could be found to fix it.
Thombo Sand Dam
I then visited Phiri Meque and Capinga, both are following the same pattern as Thombo with lots of production. Capinga was interesting for me because they started using Moringa trees for live fences to keep the cattle out of the gardens instead of cutting down all of the trees, an idea I had encouraged for several years. It was good to see it was happening. I also saw the first attempts at conservation agriculture, also something I had encouraged in the program. They are also experimenting with rock check dams, little rocky piles across gulleys and waterways to slow erosion and increase infiltration of water into the soil in the fields. Phiri Meque Fields
We walked across the river to Mandie and I saw Thichira. Again, this community is in the second year of rains but it seems that the water will be around all year round. What is so remarkable here is that I could see the line of green of the vegetables, fruit and trees with leaves in the valley in contrast to the leafless trees and dormant, dry grass in the surrounding landscape. This extens up the valley as far as the eye can see, meaning water is conserved up about a km under the surface of the sand and soil.
These are the things that encourage me. It has been 5 years here in Mozambique but the fruit is beginning to show.
Thichira Valley Above Dam - note the dry hillsides in contrast with the green trees and plant in the valley