Since the levelling of ground began in April and with many hours of care and labour, the communities’ hard work is beginning to pay off. Winter crops are starting to produce results; cabbage, turnips, tomatoes, beetroot, and spinach have been harvested and distributed. Woman from the local church and orphanage, together with grandmothers and mothers spend long days in the garden tending their crops and nurturing life out of the rich soil.
In June 2012, a donation was made of FELCO gardening equipment. Thank-you Laurent Perrin-Flisch of FELCO Switzerland for your support of the project and to Leon and Gys Liebenberg, FELCO representatives in South Africa, for making the necessary arrangements for delivery. A number of premium quality cutters, pruning saws and long handled gardening sheers were received and couriered to the Kunavelela Project.
In February, work began to level and earmark proper beds in the vegetable garden, plots were measured and marked out, levelled and built up around the edges to maximize the water use in the dry season.
In early April, work continues in the vegetable garden. The area has been levelled with the help of a team of donkey’s ploughing the land into workable furrows for tilling and the planting beds have been prepared for winter crops.
There are additional funds on their way from Rotary and these will be used to clear the southern portion of the garden of rocks. These funds will also be used to add irrigation pipes to the southern section of garden, purchase seeds and upgrade security of the new infrastrucure.
For now though, Manyike has attached a length of 50m irrigation pipe to the tank outlet which will provide water to the cultivated northern half of the garden.
Smilling and Harry continue to work to secure community support and involvement for their project. Through continued meetings with the village headman, the municipality, local farmers and members of the department of agriculture, churches and other non-profit organizations as well as from community members themselves, the project gains momentum, going from strength to strength.
In February, Andrew Addison a sponsor from 2008 started up his own company Purple square Consulting and has elected to support the Kunavelela Community Project as their international project forming part of the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. Thank you, Andrew!
In 2011 Andi Webster secured sponsorship from Canadian Rotary organisations, both Bowen Island Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Burnaby came on board to support Kunavelela in purchasing and installing a windmill, 6m tank stand and 10 000 litre water tanks and simple irrigation system for the vegetable garden.
Funds were raised on the Bowen Island side through spring bulb sales and once again Gogo Sheila with the hard work and effort she put in together with fellow Rotarians managed to raise over a third of the estimated funds needed to purchase the necessary infrastructure. On the Burnaby side, Dean Rohrs an expat South African with many years of non-profit experience and valued advice and guidance organized funds.
Harry, Smilling, and Andi spent a week in the village with various contractors and helpers from the village putting up the windmill and tank stands. Conditions were tough with most days reaching into the high thirties and Smilling and Harry outdid themselves organizing for things to be fetched and carried, digging trenches and laying pipes, adding muscle to the lifting and a friendly smile to the visitors and youngsters in the village. On the 27th January 2012 at 16h47 the first drops of water splashed into the water tanks – Kunavelela Community Project vegetable garden now has access to year round water.
With Rotary funding, Kunavelela also managed to contribute some much needed medical equipment and supplies for the local clinic with which Niah is involved in assisting needy families. Erick, one of the village Nduna’s (headman), accompanied us to the clinic to show his support of the project when we delivered the goods and gave us some time afterwards to speak about the goals for the community.
With left over funding from the Rotary donation we were able to purchase a laptop for Harry, an important project asset that will allow Harry to be directly involved with communications.
Our appreciation goes to all Rotary members who in any way assisted and supported the project logistically and financially and to Dean Rohrs for making the time to come and inspect the completed project on a recent visit to South Africa.
Thanks go to Marina Muller from Marina Boreholes, Tintsi and Moses who spent long hours up high in the heat putting the windmill together. Thanks also to Chris Hanekom and his team from Hoedspruit Steel who, despite flooding of their workshop the week before installation managed to get things ready for construction and assembly on schedule.
Thanks go once again to Corey Mah, for allowing us to use the veg garden logo.
Granny’s Assa, Nora, Violet, and Eva for assisting with site clearance, water carrying and general support. Life and Patrick for the creativity you brought to the signboard, Manyike for accepting responsibility to maintain and watch over the equipment and secure the windmill.