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The maize has dried on the stalks, and is now being harvested to store for grinding into mealie meal for making nshima. The farmer harvesting in the picture above is Ivy, one of the original members of the AACDP group of mothers of children with disabilities who have gone to the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Home for physiotherapy and/or school.

The mother of five girls, Ivy was one of the first Zambezi Doll makers and volunteers to work on Zambezi Farm. Always cheerful and hard-working, she often cooks lunch for the group when they are working in the fields.

Now is a great time to help Ivy and the other farmers get the storage shed for the dry maize completed. There are 2 days left in the GlobalGiving Little by Little campaign - donations up to $50 are matched at 50%, so your gift has even greater impact. CLICK HERE to donate by Friday!

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Finally a good corn harvest!

Prisca harvests some fresh ears

At about this time last year, our first corn crop ripened. Because there was no rain the harvest was very disappointing, both in quantity and quality - most ears were too small, and there were not very many.

But this year, we had two "new" sources of water. Not only was there some rain, but we also reconfigured the irrigation system to be able to bring water to the high field where the corn was planted. The corn is now ripe, and the farmers have harvested about 100 ears for fresh consumption. The rest will become maize - the ears will be left on the stalks to dry for a couple of weeks, then will be harvested and stored to be later ground into mealie meal, the basis of nshima, the staple food of Zambia.


Sydney, our Zambian manager chats with two of the farmers, Nophreen and Exhilda, about nshima.

Exhilda shucking

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M'Pekala is a project run by a group of women in Sekute, a rural area very distant from Livingstone. Their goal is to produce their own sisal and use it and natural dyes to make handsome woven shoulder and hand bags. The name M’Pekala, which means "where we live", was chosen because these women are trying to improve the lives of their families and community in this remote green paradise.

The project is the brainchild of Sister Immaculata Mulyei, a Franciscan nun who once lived in the region. She has a warm connection with this group of women, and is well aware of the difficulty they face earning cash, being many hours away from the nearest town.

The families’ yearly income from agriculture is often only enough to send one child to school - usually a son. The extra income from M’Pekala is necessary to cover fees for their daughters' educations. They know that girls who don’t attend school are much more likely to marry early. Once married, education is impossible. Equally impossible, for women, is finding a job after the babies start coming. The cycle of poverty continues.

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News from Zambia

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