PAF Vegetable Garden

As you probably remember we moved our greenhouses to PAF Center a while ago. This turned out to be very convenient for everyone.

Now we decided to try again with a vegetable garden. So we are now planting our veggies and fixing the shade net to our garden. This has been long in the making and is bearing fruit as all materials are available.

 

But don’t think all this has been easy. We used some of the money that PAF raised through donations and the annual fees of our supporting members to buy what was missing. But getting the materials from A to B to Chinkonono was a bit of a struggle. Some of those huge poles had to travel for more than 15km on an ox cart. Hard work.

We are using this project to educate members on effective vegetable farming and flower gardening. Kids and youths from Chinkonono can come to PAF Center and learn how to plant and take care of different types of seedlings and also when and how to harvest and re-plant.

 

Also the garden will be used as a means to raise funds by selling our products at PAF Market. We are planting cabbage, onions, sugar loaf, tomatoes and many other vegetables suitable for the climate and which can be consumed by local people.

PAF Vegetable Garden

A Hammer Mill for Chinkonono

Long time, long time. I know it has been quiet on here. But PAF did not stand still. We were working on a few projects. We have been moving our greenhouses to the PAF Center and we are currently building latrines there.

Also you might have been wondering what we are using the money for that has been donated and that we raise through our supporting members all over the world. Well…our newest “baby” in Chinkonono is a Diesel-powered hammer mill. You can’t imagine what an event it was for people in the village when the mill arrived by truck late at night 😉

 

Our staple food in Zambia is Nsima, a thick maize meal porridge. Before it is nsima the maize has to be milled. A 25kg bag of factory milled maize meal costs 65 kwacha (about 7,50 USD) in town. The villagers can’t access this and can’t afford it. So as PAF we didn’t want to be left out.

Hence we bought a hammer mill to mill the village maize and give PAF an income. The maize meal commonly known as hammer mill is a Diesel-propelled machine comprising of two parts, namely the engine and the mill. The engine drives the mill and the hammers strike and crush the maize grains into powder. This powder is our highly treasured mealie meal, which we use to cook the thick porridge and Nsima.

We bought a 20 horsepower machine at 16,500 kwacha (about 1,900 USD). That might sound like a lot of money. But doing the easy math it will be worth it and make life much easier. There was no hammer mill in the village or anywhere close by. Hence woman had to walk to other, far away villages to have their maize milled.  Each 15kg of maize will be milled at 5 kwacha. Our target is to raise 250 kwacha (about 29 USD) each day.

 

That way it is much more convenient for the women because no more walking far distances. Also milling it in the village is cost effective and makes it much easier for us to enjoy our beloved nsima.

I bet you want to see the mill running, don’t you? Check that:

From the proceeds we will be able to raise money to build our library and conference hall, meet running logistics and sponsor one or two kids. The milling will also provide employment for one boy and will shorten walking distances for everyone.

But of course you can’t have that mill just standing around like that. Even in Chinkonono that is not possible. That’s why we decided to construct a building to house the mill. And what can I say…our PAF members have been working hard and are almost done with it now:

 

So you see…things are moving for Chinkonono and PAF. Thank you so much to our supporting members and donors all over the world! You guys really make a change in people’s lives! 🙂

A Hammer Mill for Chinkonono

Things Are Moving

You guys probably know that we do have our greenhouse and plantations. Right? Right. Up till the end of 2016 those places were located close to Lloyd’s house as to always have someone to watch over them and make sure our plants and belongings are safe.

Now that we started PAF Community Center the idea came up that it makes sense to move our greenhouse and fields and plantations to the Center grounds.

And guess what? That is exactly what we have been doing in the past weeks. Moving the greenhouse is one thing. But clearing the space for new fields and plantations and preparing those for the new planting season is another.

We moved the plantations over to PAF center
We moved the plantations over to PAF center

Working this dry and hard soil is a tough job. Everyone helped with that.

So basically our “garden” has now moved close to PAF center. And to make sure all is safe we had to fence the greenhouse and grounds as well.

Fencing the new plantations at PAF Center
Fencing the new plantations at PAF Center

 

As soon as we have solved the issue of securing our belongings at PAF Center we will also move the water tank and pipes and set them up there for irrigation purposes. But for now those remain close to Lloyd’s house to keep them safe.

And now that planting season started we can grow our plants at our PAF grounds. Pretty cool, huh?

Wonder what we will be planting here...seeds are ready.
Wonder what we will be planting here…seeds are ready.

 

So lets just say that things have been moving in Chinkonono 😉

Things Are Moving

Christmas in a Zambian Village

World over, despite different faith and beliefs, Christmas is a family reunion time.

After the generous donation from RotB in 2015 when we celebrated Christmas for the first time…this year should be very special for Chinkonono kids as this Christmas was for them.

Thanks to our German Mama Africa Bruni we could buy a lot food and even some sweets in 2016 again. About 900 Kwacha were spent on food and drinks. We bought rice, sugar, flour, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, biscuits, one goat and three chickens.

Our ladies spent hours and hours stirring the pots and cooking. What a feast that was. So much meet and different kind of dishes. A truely great day for everyone!

Wesley surprised everyone by homemade bread and buns.

He even created his masterpiece: the Christmas Bread. Cool, huh?

Wesley's masterpiece
Wesley’s masterpiece

All Chinkonono kids were present: In total 145 kids took part in the feasts. These kids were coming from PAF and non-PAF households.

If you think that was all…well, there were also those yummy Vinkubala that the kids love so much. Not an everyday snack.

Digging in
Digging in

The festivities were punctuated by music and dance, lots of jokes and laughter. You can imagine what a party that was and how many sparkling eyes and bright smiles you could see 🙂

In the past Christmas went by without people in the village taking part because it was impossible to celebrate due to lack of food.

All this was possible after PAF members in Germany took it upon themselves to bring joy and make Chinkonono celebrate the birth of Jesus together with the rest of the world.

Merry Christmas from PAF :)
Merry Christmas from PAF 🙂 And Twalumba, Bruni!
Christmas in a Zambian Village

Vinkubala, a Zambian Snack

People these days go crazy about healthy and organic food or superfood. All that for the “western world” is very expensive while in places like Chinkonono it is so easy to get.

One of our coordinators, Wesley (Lloyd’s brother), has sent some pics and info about one of the village’s favourite snacks: Vinkubala…caterpillars.

Caterpillar5
Lots of yummy colourful caterpillars…a healthy snack

What? Yeah..caterpillars. What sounds like the most stereotype thing to say about Africa is actually a very, very healthy part of PAF members’ diet.

In Chinkonono those caterpillars are called Vinkubala. Wesley set out to catch them to bring home a surprise for his family for New Years Day.

As you can see the kids went crazy about them.

Caterpillar2
Digging in

 

Those caterpillars can be found in some trees in the field around December and January. It is mostly a popular relish or snack around Southern Region.

Vinkubala provide the body with a lot of proteins, vitamines and many more nutrients. That is why during the 2 months people try to eat as many as they can. They are a valuable and important addition to the regular diet. Even the Zambian government recommends eating caterpillars.

As you can imagine, thinking of caterpillars, most kids at first are a bit hesitant and even scream when they see or touch them for the first time. But on the other hand they are more than eager to have them.

 

How to eat vinkubala, you ask? Well…obviously you put them in a dish and kids will try sort out the biggest ones for themselves first. 😉 Then you have to get the outer shell off and remove the insides. Apply some salt, let them sit there for a few hours or a day. Then they are ready to be fried or cooked. You can add any ingredients you see fit.

Caterpillar4
Yummy?! 😉

Would you eat them? 😉

 

Vinkubala, a Zambian Snack

A Long-Awaited Visitor ;)

Finally! Julie made it back to Zambia after 2 years. And guess where she went: Chinkonono Village of course!

Check our awesome new Slideshow to see what happened in the village and what progress we made while Julie was there:

Julie had a big To-Do-List to check 😉 As you know we have been announcing a market place and kitchen for ages. So we planned to get both structures roofed within that week. We managed for the kitchen. So that is good. The market we only could do half because we lacked grass to that the roof the traditional Tonga way. But we are confident that it will be done very soon.

Also our building that houses the library and sewing room for now was supposed to be painted nicely. Unfortunately there was a lot of plastering to do to fix dents and window sills. But Jason and Albert worked hard. So with a slight delay the ladies, Julie, Wesley and many other hands could start painting.

For the rooms we chose water-based white paint and for the lower part white oil paint so we can wash of prints of dirty kids’ hands 😉 Door and window frames are painted in a dark green. For the front wall and pillars outside we chose white oil paint to be able to wash them too. Also Wesley and Julie practiced their sign writer skills and wrote Planting A Future onto the top part of the front wall.

What can I say? It looks beautiful and bright and people can see it from afar. Our members are so proud, especially the women. They say that nobody has a nicely painted wall our house at home. And to quote Media: “Not all men’s work has to be done by men only. We can do that too!”…she refers to the whole painting job, which was very interesting and exciting for our ladies.

But now lean back and take 12 minutes to watch the Slideshow! Please share if you like it! 🙂

A Long-Awaited Visitor ;)

Candy Crush?

Für die Deutsche Version bitte nach unten scrollen!
Everybody loves sweets and candy, right? So do the people in Chinkonono. So we invited Kennedy to visit us in the village. Kennedy knows how to make candy. He sells them in villages and in town.
It seemed like a great idea to try and produce sweets to sell at our market soon.
Making sweets is as simple as they are good. All you need is sugar, a few lemons, some food colour (or in our case orange and strawberry flavored powder for water), some cooking oil and a bit of water. Obviously a pot, pan and fire 😉
First of all you put a pot on the fire and heat the sugar and some oil. After a few minutes you add water and the lemon juice and stir a bit. When it is boiling you will see some bubbles and foam.
A pot of sugar
A pot of sugar
Kennedy showed us how he knows that the mass is ready to be processed further. He took bits of the foam and put it in the water to check the consistency. I would just burn my hands 😉
Kennedy checking if the consistency is alright yet
Kennedy checking if the consistency is alright yet
While you watch that mass cook you can take some of the flavored powder and mix it with a bit of oil and also heat it till it is a liquid mass.
When the sugar mass is ready you need a greased pan to pour it onto. And then use a spoon to move the mass to not have it stick to the pan.
Once the mass cooled down a bit it takes 2 people to kneed and fold it over and over again. It is beautiful to watch how the colour of the sugar mass changes. It looks like gold in the sunshine.
The next step is to make a big ball of the mass and make small balls of the colored powder. Those you press into the mass and along the ball on 3 sides.
Heating it up again to make the tubes
Heating it up again to make the tubes
Then it is easy…you just form long threads of the mass, put them on the pan and cut them. Let them cool and tadaaahhh: candy!
Check the video to see the most important steps. It is fascinating to watch.
All our PAF members watched and learned. Even our PAF Warriors showed up to have a look (and taste a candy) before their practice.
Everyone was watching and interested
Everyone was watching and interested
We are now thinking of producing sweets like that which contain moringa powder instead of the flavored powder. But for that we will have to wait till we can harvest again. Right now all our Moringa trees are desperately waiting for rainy season 😉
We even sat down to count all the candy we made to figure out how much we could sell them for and how much benefit that would be. And what can I say? It is worth it! 😉
If any of you guys is interested in trying PAF Moringa Sweets made in Chinkonono…let us know. We gladly take orders and produce as soon as we can.
——-
Deutsche Version!
Ob wir es nun zugeben oder nicht…insgeheim lieben wir doch alle Süßigkeiten. Da sind die Menschen in Chinkonono keine Ausnahme. Also haben wir kurzentschlossen Kennedy eingeladen, uns im Dorf zu besuchen und unseren Mitgliedern zu zeigen, wie man Süßigkeiten herstellt. Wäre doch eigentlich auch nicht schlecht, wenn man selbst hergestellte Süßigkeiten auf unserem bald fertig gebauten Markt verkaufen könnte…
Süßigkeiten herzustellen ist wirklich kinderleicht und schmecken tun sie auch. Alles was man braucht sind folgende Zutaten: Zucker, ein paar Zitronen, Lebensmittelfarbe (oder in unserem Fall farbiges Pulver zum Einrühren in Wasser für fruchtigen Geschmack), ein bisschen Öl und Wasser….und natürlich Topf, Blech und Feuer 😉
Als erstes muss das Feuer geschürt werden. Dann werden Zucker und ein bisschen Öl auf dem Feuer erhitzt bis es blubbert und sich eine Art Schaum auf der Oberfläche bildet. Dann gibt man den Saft der Zitronen und ein bisschen Wasser dazu und lässt es weiter köcheln. Zwischendurch hat Kennedy immer mal wieder ein wenig vom Schaum oben abgenommen und im kalten Wasser betrachtet, um die Konsistenz der Masse zu prüfen. Würde ich ja nicht probieren…meine Hände sind nicht feuerfest 😉
Während die Masse so vor sich hinköchelt kann man schon das farbige Pulver mit etwas Öl mischen und dann auf dem Feuer erhitzen bis es eine zähe Masse wird.
Sobald die Zuckermasse die richtige Konsistenz hat wird sie auf ein gut gefettetes Blech gekippt und dann mit einem Löffel bewegt, damit sie nicht festklebt. Sobald die Masse etwas abgekühlt ist, wird sie zu einem großen Ball geformt und dann von 2 Leuten geknetet und gefaltet. Immer und immer wieder. Es ist faszinierend und wunderschön, zu beobachten wie sich die Farbe der Masse ständig verändert und golden im Sonnenschein glänzt.
Die farbige Masse kann nun zu kleinen Bällen geformt und dann längs der Zuckermasse in 3 schmalen Streifen angedrückt werden. Nun muss man eigentlich nur noch die Masse in schlauchförmige Stangen formen und auf dem Blech schneiden. Tadaaahhh: fertige Bonbons!
Schaut euch am besten mal das Video an. Dort sind die wichtigsten Schritte noch einmal zu sehen. Es ist faszinierend, die Herstellung zu beobachten. Kein Wunder, dass so viele unserer PAF Mitglieder zugeschaut haben. Auch die Jungs unserer PAF Warriors haben es sich nicht nehmen lassen, einen Blick (und ein paar Bonbons) vor ihrem abendlichen Training zu erhaschen.
Natürlich haben wir gleich mal alle Bonbons gezählt und durchgerechnet, wieviel Gewinn man theoretisch beim Verkauf erwirtschaften könnte. Es lohnt sich 😉 Momentan denken wir darüber nach, anstatt des farbigen Pulvers auch Moringapulver zu verwenden, um gesündere Süßigkeiten herzustellen. Allerdings müssen wir nun erstmal auf die Ernte warten, denn zur Zeit sehnen sich unsere Moringabäumchen noch nach der Regenzeit 😉
Falls ihr also Interesse an hausgemachten PAF Moringa Sweets habt, lasst es uns wissen. Wir nehmen Bestellungen entgegen und werden dann nächstes Jahr schnellstmöglich produzieren.
Candy Crush?