Ma puna buti!
Thanks for your support.
We have been in Zambia since January 20, over 2 months, and have been busy getting things in order in Simango. The major accomplishments so far:
1) We have received over 40 Family Drip Irrigation Systems from Netafim, Israel's leading irrigation company. These will be used in 3 half-hectare community irrigation schemes currently being organized in Simango Center and the neighboring Sibunimba Village. Each of these schemes will allow about 50 households to earn income in order to finance their own water service improvements. We hope to reach about 150 households directly through the community irrigation schemes, and another 100 through promoting household irrigation packages. In addition, we are constructing a nursery in order to plant half-hectare of bell pepper seedlings.
2) We have identified a market for the vegetable produce for this year: City Fruit & Vegetables of Lusaka. Each week starting in June, they will buy half a ton of bell peppers, half a ton of zucchini, and up to one ton of beet root from these irrigation schemes. This should provide enough income to recover the costs of both the irrigation equipment and other water service improvements over 2 years.
3) We have finished writing surveys to be conducted in the coming weeks in order to find out what people in this area value with regard to water improvements, and how they prefer to pay for those improvements. Over 175 questions have been translated into Toca Leya, the local dialect. These surveys will be used to plan the irrigation and loan program, which we hope to begin next month.
4) We have conducted several pumping tests on local boreholes and the results are encouraging. It looks like there will be enough water at each of 3 boreholes to irrigate half of a hectare as well as provide domestic water for the surrounding households.
5) We have ordered a mold for making BioSand filters, which are a low-cost approach of purifying water that can be made locally with minimal capital expenses.
6) We have ordered a manual Well-drilling kit from Water4, a water organization based in the USA. This should arrive next week and we hope it will allow us to drill low-cost wells for households in the area.
7) We are all healthy! Thanks for all of your prayers :)
8) We are deepening relationships with the locals here, and are encouraged by the enthusiasm that they are showing about the upcoming water and irrigation program.
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