“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Day 9 - Linda Farm

inside the high-fivers house
Got up and showered... sad to be our last day and despondent that the Kit Yamoyos had not arrived, we had breakfast, packed our things and took down our mossie nets. Since they were only a fiver each, we decided to kill time taking them to the family of children down the road; the "high-fivers", who would make much better use of them than we would. Mother took us into the new baby's room and showed us where she sleeps.. it was bad. The net they had strung over the baby was old and worn. Not to mention filthy and tied together with bits of old rope and string where they had repaired it many times. There was space only for the baby underneath, so we held out our nets for them which would each cover an entire bed, and keep at least 6 of the children safe.
Manager explaining the goals
of Linda Farm
We returned to the lodge feeling more than a bit pathetic. Our efforts this week seem so inadequate and although worthwhile, they really don't even scratch the surface of what these people need. We sat on our porch and shared the last bottle of Mosi from our fridge and were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves when Wivan came running, saying that Kennedy was here.... the first 100 kits had arrived! From down in the dumps wallowing in guilt, to up on a high within a heartbeat, we dashed out to the front of the lodge, where Lazarus and Kennedy were waiting. Kennedy had arranged for Lazarus to take us to a local project called Linda Farm. If we left immediately we could get over there, do a demonstration to the community and be back before our collection at noon. Tracey and I were in the van within seconds. We studied one of the kits to be sure we knew how they worked and on the way to Linda Farm we read the instruction leaflet inside.
Linda farm is a self-sustained community of 82 people (young and old, able and disabled) who produce crops, breed chickens, goats and soon-to-be pigs for sale to market.
Rabeccah had called the manager moments before we arrived to ask him to assemble the community and gave a brief introduction to the purpose of our visit so that he was prepared. So whilst the villagers gathered, he took us on a short tour of the farm. They water the fields with buckets pulled from a crocodile-infested river running along one edge of their land, but were in the process of fixing a large water pump when we arrived which will massively reduce the risk to life when working the fields and save a huge amount of time. They were also building an "ablutions block" with toilets and showers which they hope to finished in a few months time.
new chicks, just arrived at Linda Farm
They keep goats to pay for schooling, they buy 2-day old chicks for 6 kwacha each and in 6 weeks, turn them into fully grown chickens which they sell for 45 kwacha each. There is an area set aside as allotments, for teenage girls who have finished school, to help teach them to be more independent and able to grow produce of their own, as well as a compost area made from recycled plastic drinks bottles.
Once the people were assembled on chairs under a tree, we gave a demo to the community of how to use the kits before answering all their questions, sometimes directly and others with the manager translating. They seemed incredibly pleased and some of the kids were even brave enough to try a sip of the orange-flavoured re-hydration drink when I passed it around.
At Waterberry lodge
Time was running out, so we said our goodbyes, and jumped back in the van to return to the Sunbird. Lazarus would have to replay the demo to Kennedy and Rabeccah on Monday when they return to work in preparation for when the remaining kits arrive next week. Our only hope now is that Colalife can persuade Shoprite to put them on their shelves, because the first question we were asked was.... "when these donated packs run out, where can we get more and how much will they cost?". I left a copy of Colalife's film ("The Cola Road") with Kennedy and will introduce the two companies via email when I get home. With any luck they can continue to supply their projects directly with each other.
Sunset river cruise with Shadreck
We made it back to the Sunbird just in time to meet Shadreck from Waterberry Lodge who arrived with an air conditioned min van and a cooler full of mosi beer - just the celebration we needed and what an end to an amazing week in Zambia. We drove 40 minutes to the lodge through the national park and were greeted by Kelly on arrival. Simply stunning place, right on the river. A gorgeous chicken salad was waiting for us and a couple more cold beers. We spent the afternoon unpacking and getting settled in before heading out on the boat for a sunset river cruise, complete with white wine and nibbles. We saw warthogs, osprey, zebra, baboons, pied kingfisher, hippos, impala, crocodile and a baby crocodile, brown-hooded kingfisher, jacana, skimmers and Ibis in a massive line across the sunset!
The evening was topped off with a gourmet 3 course dinner, an Amarula by the campfire a few glasses of red on our veranda listening to the hippos grunting to each other. Magic.

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