Our time here in South Africa is going by way too fast. The construction of our sanitation (Enviro Loo) project in the community of Nobody is complete. We built four new waterless toilets for 75 preschool children. We also put up a water storage tank for them so they will have a reliable supply of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. This project was in partnership with St. Francis Catholic Church, in West Des Moines, and a Rotary Club in Polokwane.
Representatives from Rotary International will soon be visiting our larger water project that was done in partnership with HyVee and Rotary. This project started out to be for 10 rural schools; however, we were able to be more cost-efficient than we budgeted for, so we should end up with about 13 schools. Due to their limited time, we will not be able to get around to all the schools but will show them a nice sample 3 to 5 schools.
This week we received approval from the Pietersburg 100 Rotary Club that they would like to work with us in developing another global matching grant to teach Africans improved farming practices. With this grant, we will also be working with rural public schools to teach them how to farm in school gardens. We will be using our Mountain View Training and Research Farm as the main training center and will bring representatives there from each of the schools for multiple 3-day practical training courses. Using our greenhouses and shade netting, we already have a perfect lab to teach them practical vegetable farming practices. We are hoping that we can also soon add fish farming and poultry egg production to the training. Once set up, this system should add significant sustainability to our orphan and vulnerable feeding programs while adding to the overall sustainability of Blessman International.
This weekend we have enjoyed hosting our friends Mac, Elsa, and Timothy who do a farm training program at their private Christian School, Eagle’s Nest, in Polokwane. We are hoping to be able to contract with them to help us do some of the training on our farm as well. They specialize in training smallholder farmers with a program called Foundations for Farming. This program is a no-till method of farming using lots of mulch and composting.
Next week we hope to be accepting delivery of a new refrigerated trailer that will help us get our produce to market in excellent condition. We are currently growing spinach, beets, green peppers, and tomatoes.