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

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?

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

No looking back? Well…we do a bit :)

Planting A Future is such an amazing project. And it is growing so fast. So many things we need to do and that we want to do. Sometimes it is hard to focus on our running project so as to finish those before starting the next thing 😉

Our achievements are overwhelming at times. Especially for people in Chinkonono Village and for Lloyd. He sat down and wrote a nice review of the past 6 and a bit months. Please take a few minutes to read what he has to say!


As we enter the second quarter of this year lets take while to look back at awe-inspiring moments and events! 🙂
A lot has happened to PAF, both locally and internationally, and at times these incidents, events and moments have left most of us speechless and in awe. In other words these have jolted us out of the ordinary into the extraordinary and brought us to a better understanding of humanity, without the usual facade of race, religion, culture, ethinicity, tribe and social class. It showed us that humanity is just one big family.
To everyone who has been following the developments at PAF it is evident that like-minded people from all over the world have made so much sacrifice to bring a smile or change the lives of Chinkonono people for the better. All this has been done while the world is groaning under the global financial meltdown, terrorism, refugee crisis and climate changes.
There were many awe-inspiring moments and it is impossible to highlight all of them. Everyone of them made PAF what it is today.

  • While we were struggling with resources to put basic stuff together, a dying man requested his family not to buy flowers for his wreaths but to give the money to PAF so that we could buy the materials for the greenhouse. We will always remember you. May you rest in peace! Thank you so much to Baumschule Bösl!
  • Under very difficult financial challenges our friends from Repairer Of The Breach bought the village women sewing machines and fabrics and Bruni donated money to construct the first building of our community center that now houses a sewing room and library.
  • Bruni, for the second time, visited Zambia to check on PAF activities, live in the village so as to understand village challenges and learn the lives of the people. It is during this visit when PAF became an NGO with structured activities. More info, the statute and membership forms will be online soon!
  • Our friend Murray from Australia organised for books for our village kids. This was achieved at great financial cost and sacrifice from a lot of people in Australia.
  • PAF recieved breadfruit seedlings for the second time. Our partners at the Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii together with Global Breadfruit and Cultivaris donated trees as a christmas gift to the village. This was such a great surprise as we did not expect any seedlings due to the challenges we had faced the first time we were given seedlings.
  • The ladies of Repairer Of The Breach also donated money for a christmas feast to the village. This has been unprecedented. Never in the history of the village has everyone come together to celebrate christmas. Only a couple of families used to do it while the rest of the village had no food due to lack of money and food.
  • We are also setting up our school sponsorship programme to help vulnerable families pay for their kids’ school fees and thus give them a chance to get education. The first kids already found sponsors. Please contact us for further information if you are interested to change a child’s life!
Little James recieving money from his sponsor to go to school
Little James recieving money from his sponsor to go to school

These are some of the events which will remain in the mind of the village and PAF members for a lifetime. These have shown the world that love has no boundaries.
On behalf of PAF I thank everyone who has made PAF what it is today. The story of this success will be incomplete without Patrick Thompson, Jacqueline Mapande, Stan Watt, Murray Quant, Diane, Garry, Amy, Josh, Blair and all the rest of our well wishers… THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

No looking back? Well…we do a bit :)

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