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Frontiers Foundation update: George’s garden in full bloom
April 6, 2013Article by Ray Withers
My how time flies, it was only less than 9 months ago that I was standing in a small remote village in Zambia, building a fence out of bamboo to surround the newly drilled borehole – our first Frontiers Foundation project (watch the video HERE).
I often think about the people we met at Ngwezi B, the location of the borehole. The village community, so welcoming and generous with their food and time, Sasha and Vincent, the UK volunteers working out on the ground with PEPAIDS, Bernadette, Kenneth and Wilson, a true character with a curious penchant for cheese, who headed up the SAPEP charity in the area.
As we undertook the latest fundraising event, the London to Oxford bike ride last month, I wondered how they were doing, was the well still delivering water? Had George expanded his garden? Was the area we had cleared now thriving and producing food for the community?
Well, earlier this week I got the answers to my questions, and many more besides, from our friend at PEPAIDS, Sasha. She sent a very detailed update on progress out at Ngwezi B, how George and his garden were getting on and their plans for the future.
As many of you supported and very generously donated to this extremely worthwhile project which represents everything that the Frontiers Foundation stands for, please find below the very latest news and wonderful pictures all the way from our friends in Zambia, some 9,000 miles away.
George’s garden is in full bloom
George and the community are doing amazingly well. They now have a huge additional garden in which they grow aubergines, lots of moringa trees (the flowers of which go into the medicines and tinctures that he has made), okra, tomatoes, sweet potato and even coriander.
The new garden is surrounded by a large grass fence and the community have attached piping to the pump which allows the water to be pumped from the borehole and collected in buckets and drums just outside the entrance to the new garden which is just outside the community living quarters.
This has made it easy to water the extension to the garden and also for the community (especially the women) to collect water for washing and cooking. George also uses a section of the new garden as a nursery for seedlings, which are then planted into the new garden.
Innovation at Ngwezi B
The community has built a reservoir tank in the community living area, just outside the old garden. They aim to connect further piping to this tank and link this all the way up to the pump, so that water can be taken to the old garden with ease and again, the community and can have even better access to the water from the borehole. The community is in the process of raising funds for the piping.
The borehole became a lifeline as drought hit Ngwezi B
George said that the borehole has made a real difference to everyone’s lives: they can grow fruits, vegetables and herbs all year round, and for those living with HIV, this is really important as they can make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need.
Vitally this year there has also been a drought – there has been virtually no rain in March and everybody’s maize crops have been affected. Some people have just about grown enough maize for home consumption, whilst others have not even got that. The borehole is proving to be a lifeline for George’s community this year as they have been able to grow all their maize, fruits and vegetables despite the lack of rain.
New Orphans and Vulnerable Children camp comes to Ngwezi B
In other areas George and the community are also going from strength to strength. Last year, PEPAIDS funded an OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) camp in George’s area, which is a four day camp where vulnerable children can go and relax, learn their rights, receive counseling, discuss any problem areas at home (e.g. physical or sexual abuse) and receive information on how to deal with those issues.
The community thought the camp was so beneficial that they have decided that they want to take over running it and have SAPEP as support to assist. George explained that the community is going to fundraise the money for the next camp themselves and he is hopeful that they will run their own camp in the summer of this year.
Saving for the future
The community is also involved in a Savings Loan Associations scheme after training from SAPEP. Each club contributes to an SLA on a monthly basis, taking a proportion of the profit raised through their Income Generation Activities. Through this scheme, SAPEP hope that communities will begin to learn about sound financial management and begin to save money for the future, instead of just ‘living for today’ as many have been doing.
George and his marvelous medicines in action
We also saw some of the records that George keeps about the patients that he has treated. One patient, a 14-year-old girl, came to him for treatment for a snakebite. She came to him after a couple of days and had swelling and pain in her leg. George was able to treat the problem and reduce the swelling – those powders and tinctures clearly contain amazing stuff!
Receiving this extremely positive update was just wonderful for not only me but all the Frontiers Foundation Trustees and supporters who raised the funds to enable to drilling of the borehole. Ensuring that the projects we support are sustainable is a cornerstone of the Foundation and it is clear that George and his community are going from strength to strength.
As you can see though, there is much more work to be done. The community is raising funds for new extension piping from the well and the next Orphans and Vulnerable Children camp so if you would like to show George your support then you can do so by donating to the Frontiers Foundation here where every penny goes directly to the cause.
From everyone here in the UK, we wish George and the Ngwezi B the very best health and prosperity for the months to come.