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. πŸ˜‰ 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?! πŸ˜‰

Would you eat them? πŸ˜‰

 

Vinkubala, a Zambian Snack

Friday Night Handicraft Hours

Friday night in Berlin…parties, concerts, movies, theatre, restaurants, bars…the list of options is long. So obviously Julie would be doing one of those things. Maybe…

But maybe she did something else. Who knows…well, have a look at this:

40 sample bags in total
Our Moringa samples πŸ™‚

Doesn’t look like any of the things we mentioned above. Instead of spending a night out Julie stayed home and prepared sample bags of Moringa powder that has been produced in Chinkonono Village.

When Bruni was there our team went to the moringa plantations to bring in the first harvest of moringa leaves.

The PAF crew with our first moringa harvest
The PAF crew with our first moringa harvest

 

Lots of the leaves were given to families for food. But parts of the harvest was put out to dry. It took about 2 days for them to be dry and ready to be pounded into powder.

Drying the Moringa leaves
Drying the Moringa leaves

 

It is amazing how pure and nice the powder turned out to be. So when Bruni came back from Zambia she had a bag of Moringa powder with her, roughly 1kg. What to do with a kg of moringa powder? Right…keep some for personal use and pack the rest into sample bags to hand them to small shops who might be interested and see if they would want to sell them.

So today Julie designed the labels and printed and cut them. After that it was about filling about 25g into each bag before completing the labels (more cutting and glueing and handicraft work) and attaching them to the sample bags. Long night that definitely required some patience and skills πŸ˜‰

 

But honestly…even though the bags are not the most beautiful ones…don’t they look great? We love the labels. And it is 100% organic and produced by our team in Chinkonono Village. More natural is impossible πŸ˜‰

So tomorrow Julie will try talk to the first shops and see if they would take some samples and maybe sell them for little money that would go into the project. So some convincing will be needed. Keep your fingers crossed! Would be a start to set something up and market our products. But we will see…we hope for the best.

Friday Night Handicraft Hours

Veggie Trial and Error …

One of our aims was to build up a communal veggie garden where we could raise veggies for sale and consumption and also teach people how to grow certain veggies to educate them and pass on the knowledge.

Unfortunately this project failed as such due to lack of water and the heat spell. We had planted seedlings in our green house and around it. These grew well until the river dried up. It was difficult to get water for the trees since people had to walk kilometres to fetch it. The heat spell destroyed the seedlings remaing.

This doesn’t mean we have given up on the whole veggie thing. Having failed to have the garden, we now shared the seeds amongst our PAF members and each planted in his or her garden.

The seeds we manage to get from those plants we will be used for next planting season. And people will alway bring back a share of the seeds to PAF so that we can keep on providing at least our community with healthy veggies.

Also we plan to exhibit the veggies and seeds alongside our trees and products at the upcoming agriculture shows this year.

We already planted new seeds into the fields at the onset of the rainy season. Look at how nice those veggies grow. Thanks again to our sponsors from Germany and Hawaii for making this possible. πŸ™‚

Pumpkins
Pumpkins
Squash
Squash
Zucchini
Zucchini
Veggie Trial and Error …

Some Sweet Surprises

…as the year grows older and we grow older our plants just grow bigger and start to carry fruits. Just a few days ago we checked on our organic and homegrown strawberries in the Kalomo garden. Wow…look at them. Delicious, huh? πŸ˜‰

Don't they look delicious? :)
Don’t they look delicious? πŸ™‚
Homegrown organic strawberries in our Kalomo garden
Homegrown organic strawberries in our Kalomo garden

Also we keep on donating boxes of seedlings to households in need. For example this farmer recieved some Mango, Moringa and PawPaw trees for his orchard. We hope they will soon help feed his family and change his diet to a more nutritious one.

This happy farmer recieved seedlings of Moringa, PawPaw and Mango for his household
This happy farmer recieved seedlings of Moringa, PawPaw and Mango for his household

And a very nice surprised reached us just recently. Our friend Patrick Thompson and his family from Hawaii sent us a big pack full of nice things: Veggie seeds, pencils and preserved/dried fruits.

some nice gifts from our friend Patrick Thompson from Hawaii
some nice gifts from our friend Patrick Thompson from Hawaii. Thank you so much!

The pencils are going to our community pre-school across the river. Few kids come to school each day without pencils and books because they just can not afford them. They will be so happy πŸ™‚

Some of the seeds we will plant in our communal veggie garden at the base. Some seeds we will preserve for winter gardens, more precisely family winter gardens.

The preserved and dried fruits will be used to teach fruit preservation to our community. So those are a good and timely gift as wild fruits are ripening right now. People are gathering and consuming everything when in season and starve from june to february. Just imagine a family of 6 with 4 Mango trees eating all the mangoes in 2 months πŸ˜‰ So that way we can make sure they will put some aside and keep them for dry season. Great. πŸ™‚

Last but not least we would like to show you some faces behind the scenes at PAF. You all met Grime during the agriculture shows. But have you met his son Chipego yet? He is one of our helpers and volunteers and does a great job. Thank you!

Grime and his son  Chipego
Grime and his son Chipego
Some Sweet Surprises