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

Nora’s Moringa Diaries

Whoop Whoop! We do have a guest blogger here today. I will only play translator, the following post will be in the German original version and my English translation.

Well…my friend Nora had to listen to me rambling about Planting A Future a lot in the past weeks. She has been patient with me and also is one of our supporting members. Thanks, Nora 🙂 Anyways…I also told her about Moringa and its positive effects and all the essential nutrients. As you might remember I did pack some sample bags of original PAF Moringa powder a while ago to hand out to people who are interested in trying it.

Nora agreed to give it a try and write down her experiences with Moringa powder. Check that:

 

Nora and Jule :)
Nora and Jule 🙂

Name: Nora

Age: 26

City: Berlin

Job: Public Services

Hobbies: Horseback Riding, Fitness, Reading, Meeting Friends …

 

Day 1:

Ich fühlte mich immer etwas müde und schlapp, besonders nach einem langen Tag im Büro. Da erzählte mir meine Freundin Jule über die positiven Eigenschaften der Moringa-Pflanze. Da ich nicht besonders viel Gemüse und auch nicht regelmäßig Obst esse und auch keine Lust auf irgendwelches Tablettenschlucken hatte, fand ich die Alternative, mir jeden Tag ein Glas Wasser mit einem Teelöffel Moringapulver zuzubereiten, aufgrund der natürlich enthaltenen Inhaltsstoffe sofort sehr ansprechend. Gesagt, getan. Es roch nach gemähtem Rasen. Bio halt. Ab damit ist Wasser…doch so richtig gut löste sich das Pulver nicht im Wasser auf.

I always felt a bit tired and weak, especially after a long day at work. This is when my friend Jule told me about Moringa and its positive effects. I am not really a person who eats a lot of veggies and fruits. Also i don’t want to swallow some useless pills all the time to get more vitamins. So the idea of just mixing a glass of water with a teaspoon of moringa powder everyday sounded tempting to me, especially looking at all the natural ingredients and nutrients. Said and done. I have to admit it does smell like somebody was just mowing the lawn. Well…organic for sure. Adding some water to mix it….but the powder wouldn’t really dissolve in water.

Just one glass of Moringa water or juice a day keeps the doctor away ;)
Just one glass of Moringa water or juice a day keeps the doctor away 😉

 

Day 2:

Heute war ich auf der Suche nach einer für mich verbesserten Rezeptur. Ich probierte es mal mit Zitrone und fand die Kombination ganz gelungen. Das Problem mit der Konsistenz habe ich noch nicht gelöst. Aber wozu viel Geld für diese Zahnweiß-Zahncreme ausgeben? Moringa tut es auch 😉

Today I was trying to improve the recipe a little bit by literally spicing it up. I tried to add a bit of lemon juice and found this mix pretty good. Only the “problem” of the powder not dissolving in water I still couldn’t solve. But well…making the best of it. Why wasting lots of money on this special whitening toothpaste? Moringa does the deal as well 😉

Nora having a "fit" drink after running
Nora having a “fit” drink after running

 

Day 3:

Seit heute trinke ich meinen Moringa-Trank immer morgens nach dem Aufstehen. Und was soll ich sagen? Ein bisschen fitter und wacher fühlt man sich schon. Gewappnet für den Tag.

From today on I will drink my moringa drink straight after waking up in the mornings. What can I say? I feel a bit fitter and more awake already. Ready to face the day.

Moringa drink
Moringa drink

 

Day 5:

Nora's favourite mix: multivitamine juice and a teaspoon of Moringa powder
Nora’s favourite mix: multivitamine juice and a teaspoon of Moringa powder

Ab heute gibt’s das Moringa-Pulver immer zusammen mit Multivitaminsaft – meine absolute Lieblingskombination. Probiert es mal aus! Sieht zugegebenermaßen etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig aus, schmeckt aber super.

Today I tried to mix the moringa powder with multivitamin juice. From now on I will always drink it like that – my absolute favourite mix. Try it! It does look a bit weird. But believe me it tastes great.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9:

Ein Glas Saft mit Moringa nach dem Sport ist die beste Erfrischung und gibt dem Körper einiges an Kraft und Nährstoffen zurück.

A glass of juice mixed with moringa powder right after doing sports simply is the best refreshment. Your body will get back some strength and lots of nutrients.

Moringa lifts the spirits ;) Jule is enjoying her drink!
Moringa lifts the spirits 😉 Jule is enjoying her drink!

 

Day 12:

Jule und ich versuchen jetzt regelmäßig joggen zu gehen. Heute war wieder einer dieser Tage, fast 6km geschafft. Das hätte ich mir vor ein paar Wochen auch nicht träumen lassen. Nachdem der Selbstversuch von Innen heraus ja schon perfekt funktioniert hat, wollte ich das Pulver heute mal äußerlich ausprobieren. Also rührte ich mir mit kaltem Wasser eine Moringamaske an. Hierbei muss man besonders darauf achten, dass die Maske die richtige Konsistenz hat – das ist sehr wichtig! (Zum Glück haben wir das bei Jule zu Hause probiert und ich musste hinterher nicht sauber machen.) Es war ein wahres Ereignis, die kühlende Maske direkt nach dem Sport auf das Gesicht aufzutragen. Nachdem die Maske ein wenig angetrocknet war, entfaltete sie einen unglaublich angenehmen Peelingeffekt (da seht ihr’s, die Probleme des Unterrührens ins Wasser haben hier halt auch Vorteile)! Anschließend habe ich die Maske mit reichlich klarem Wasser abgewaschen. Das Ergebnis ist umwerfend: Die Haut ist geglättet, seidig-zart und jugendlich frisch. 😉

Nowadays Jule and me try to go running regularly to keep fit. Today has been one of those days. And hey, I managed almost 6km. If you had told me this a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have believed it. Since my self-experiment worked well in the inside I thought I could apply moringa on the outside as well. So I mixed some moringa powder and cold water to a Moringa poultice. It is very important that its consistency is like a smooth paste. (Luckily we did try all that at Jule’s place and I didn’t have to clean up afterwards.) It truely was an interesting event to apply the cooling poultice to my face right after coming back from running. After the poultice had dried a bit a real pleasant peeling effect was noticeable (see…what seems a bit disturbing while drinking the powder definitely has its advantages here now!). After a few minutes I simply washed it of with clear water. And the result is magnificent: the skin is smooth like a baby’s buttocks, silk-soft and juvenilely fresh 😉

 

Well…you can see…Moringa is fun! Thank you Nora for writing that little diary! 🙂

If any of you guys is interested in trying some 100% organic Moringa powder, grown on our very own Planting A Future plantations, please feel free contact us and we will arrange things.

Nora’s Moringa Diaries

Happy Day for Singwamba Primary School and Clinic

You know how Planting A Future started out, right? Supplying fruit trees to vulnerable households and institutions?

We still do that. Just recently Lloyd went on a little tour to Singwamba Primary School and Singwamba Clinic to deliver the donated trees.

As you can imagine everyone was really excited and curious. So lots of people gathered at both spots when Lloyd showed up. Lloyd took the time to explain everything about the new trees: how to plant, how to take care of the seedlings, how and when to water them.

happy kids at Singwamba Primary School
happy kids at Singwamba Primary School

The kids at Singwamba Primary School got a free gardening lesson as well. Lloyd showed them how to choose a good spot for their school’s orchard and where to plant each tree to benefit best. He also explained how to plan and do the digging and planting. So after theoretical knowledge was gained it was all about getting the hands dirty and plant and water the little trees. Each and everyone helped, full of enthusiasm. 🙂 Those little guys can’t wait to have juicy and yummy fruits for lunch!

 

But also the Singwamba Clinic recieved some seedlings. Especially for a clinic it is important to offer nutritious food to the patients. Malnutrition very often affects sick people even worse than healthy ones because the side effects of medication worsen too.

PAF donates fruit trees to Singwamba Clinic
PAF donates fruit trees to Singwamba Clinic

 

Lloyd helped the clinic’s staff to plant the trees and explained all about them. He put extra focus on the moringa seedlings because, as you might know, this superfood is used to treat so many diseases is very nutritious. So Lloyd talked a lot to the women at Singwamba Clinic to explain and educate about the importance and use of Moringa as food and medicine. Especially for the maternity wing it was a very interesting day.

 

What a day for Singwamba people! We are very happy to have started 2 orchards around there. In just a few months they will be able to harvest their first Moringa leaves. And soon the first home grown fruits will be served for the patients and kids 🙂

 

Happy Day for Singwamba Primary School and Clinic

Why Moringa?

Check that video to see why we grow Moringa and how it is planted and harvested. Lloyd took us on the plantation and shows what is happening!

 

Got it all? Ready to grow Moringa? Well…please don’t steal our future customers 😉

But seriously…if anyone knows someone who might be interested in buying and marketing Moringa products like powder, tea, soap or oil…please contact us. Our products are all 100% organic and homegrown.

It would help us a lot to find someone to market our products and that way create some income to put into our projects.

Why Moringa?

A Visit in Chinkonono Village

Whoa…now look at that!!! Somebody made a new photo slideshow of Bruni’s visit and impressions of Chinkonono Village, PAF activities and the warmth and joy of our Zambian community!

 

Check the slideshow to get a glimpse of what Bruni experienced and of what is going on for Planting A Future with the new breadfruit seedlings, the first building of our new community center, the first moringa harvest, our village primary school and all our lovely PAF members 🙂

It is definitely worth 9 minutes of your time…we will take you on a little break from reality and invite you to join us in the middle of nowhere, far away from all stress and hectic.

Now lean back and enjoy! 🙂

Please share if you like what you see! Spread the word!

A Visit in Chinkonono Village

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 🙂

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 😉

 

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 😉

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