In our recent visit to the project we had a discussion with some students who are participating in the Atebes victory garden project. We asked them how the project is going. Below are some of the answers they provided.
Question: How many apple trees do you have
Hiwot: We have 5 apple trees. I am the one who take care of them. My little seeblings also help in watering. My father tells us to water it when we forget.
Q. Have they started bearing fruit.
Hiwot: Some them have started to give fruit but others are still short. It depends on their age. the ones that are fruiting were planted in 2011. We are eating them and they are tasty.
Q. Have you started selling them in the market.
Hiwot: We have not started selling them. One of my trees has only 24 fruits. Others are also like us. This is a new tree and man people dont know what it is. May be we will sell in the future and make a lot of money. Now we want to eat them.
Q. How many households have apple trees.
Hiwot: I dont know. But most of my friends have apple trees. But again, on the old ones have fruit.
Q. Do you know that the price of one apple in Mekelle city is 18 birr ($1.00).
Hiwot: No, I dont know that. I have never been to Mekelle even. When we a lot of fruits we will sell our in Mekelle.
Q. What is your plan for the future.
Hiwot: I am with my parents until I finish my school. I am only 10th grade. I hope to grow more apples if I get the seedlings or if I knwo how to multiply them.
Thank you for the chat. Thank you.
I recently visited the village and met with students watering the apples. They are highly motivated as the plants have begun to provide fruits. They were reporing to me that their trees have began to give fruit. They said that ttheir trees has produced lots of flowers and fruits. Some trees are carrying 20, 15, 8, 22 or more fruits. This is the result of their work but also the fruit of your support. Many of the young boys and girls are asking when they will be getting additional seedlings. We have unleashed a new interest and I can do it attitude in the youth. Those who have who have apple trees are asking for more and those who do not want to try. We have distributed 500 apples annually for the last three rainy seasons except for 2013. Please share information with your friends and your loved ones so that the momentum that we you have created can continue for a long time to come. Please accept the Happy Holidays and Best wishes from the kids, their families and us.Again, thank you for your continued support.
Please look at the pictures for more information.
We are happy to report that two types of water harvesting systems were introduced during the rainy season of 2013 (June-Sept). The first completed was the surface water harvesting system (see picture) while the second one was an in situ one. The objective of the in situ water harvesting system was to increase the recharge of rainwater into the soil with the objective of increasing the water table and revitalizing a dying stream. The percolation pond was a little more than 300 cubic meters of pond. The rain water was collected in the pond. The traditional water harvesting pond was constructed with concrete at the pilot demonstration site to provide water all year round while the in situ water harvesting system has the objective of increasing the availability of the spring water so that women and children's burdon of collecting water by traveling for hourse can be reduced. Initial investigation during the beginning of the rainy season has improved the streams and we are getting reports now that there is rush of white stream water from the spring due to the percolotaion.
Again, thank you for your support. Please spread the word to your friends and family members so that our volunteers can continue to do this importnat work. We are being stressed with lack of money we will appreciate any ampount of donation to this project.
We visited the village and discussed the role of homestead gardens in increasing income and improved livelihood. The number of people in the discussion was more than 30 people including, a teacher and adults. Most of the students attend the Mugulat junior secondary school.
Seeds bought from the McGuckin Hardware store in Boulder (Colorado) were distributed to the students. In addition to the 18 students, additional 15 adults also received vegetable seeds. The students will grow seedlings in one plot and exchange seedlings and several varieties.
The students committed themselves to use the buried clay pot irrigation system which saves precipitation. A couple of people who will not use the super efficient water saving irrigation method (as was demonstrated by the high survival rate of the apple seedlings) were a couple of participants who live in the valleys with plenty of water.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you, our supporters, for your generous support. We will appreciate your continue support in helping us mobilize more resources to further this important educational and development intervention in the dry lands. I will respond for any inquiries very gladly. Any additional support will provide highly needed purchase of inputs and contribute to sustainability. Thank you!
One of the impacts of environmental degradation in the village of Atebes, as in many Ethiopian highlands have been extreme soil erosion and consequently, the drying up of streams. When soil is washed down stream, the bare rocks do not absorb the water during the rainy season. The life span of the streams became short months following the end of the rainy season. Women and children spent several hours a day trekkingto collect water.
One of the interventions we tried in 2012 was trying to stop the rushing floods during the rainy season by building check dams using gabion walls on the upper slope of the dried stream. During the the summer rains of 2012 the largest gabion stracture was filled with sand. We have photos of before and after the check dam strucutre and the stream to show the differnece.
As the picture of April 2012 shows, a little girl is trying to fill her water container (plastic Jerican) with a tiny can. It took her almost an hour to fill it with water. We took a picutre on a similar site in February this year. The stream did not only improve but the two oxen's body is half inside the water. We are told that not only are the farmers fetching water from her but , even farmers from down stream are coming her to fetch water. The farmers are in the process of devleing laws on water mangement. The spring is now cleaned and fenced. We are also asked by the farmers to help with the purchse of additional gabion wires and the farmers will use their labor to collect stones and fill it.
When the stream is fully recharged, we believe that that farmers will not only have water for humans and animals but also for spreading their gardens close to the spring.
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