September 16, 2018

17 Sep

Journal 21
September 16, 2018
Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Tafadzwa has conducted three days of training.  I believe she has picked out the ones that she wants to work on a regular basis.  She plans to hire seven women and three alternates that can be called in when a need arises.  We quickly learned that we needed one woman washing Moringa and cleaning the sinks between each batch.  I helped out in the beginning and we quickly realized that was a full time job.  So on Friday we had seven women come for training.  It worked very well and the women as a whole worked well together.  It takes nearly two hours to strip enough Moringa to fill a dryer.   If we could get a full day of power, she could figure out how long it takes to dry a load.

I am writing this in hopes of being able to send from Harare before I board my flight home on Tuesday evening.  I am leaving at a critical time.  I had hoped to be where we are now a month ago.  This would have given more time to help Tafadzwa with the training. Unfortunately we have had power cuts the last three days, just after starting a drying process.  I am not sure how this will affect the tests on the Moringa. I am hoping we can get a good run tomorrow.

The amount of Moringa we put in the dryer impacts the drying time.  We had hoped to be able to dry at least enough to equal two-pounds of dried leaf.  However, when we have loaded that much leaf in the dryer, I don’t feel we get even enough drying.  So Tafadzwa is going to reduce the amount of fresh leaf she puts in the dryer at one time. There are still many issues to work through.  Right now, Tafadzwa is just trying to determine how many loads we can do in one day. She is already aware that in the growing season, she will have to have women starting work at day break and others coming in later to take over.   I have suggested that the women might not tire so easily if they had stools to sit on.  I, for one, do not like sitting on a stool to work.  So it may mean shorter work days and more shifts of women.  I wish I had more time to help her figure this out.

Tafadzwa has been so easy to train.  She has taken to this with no issues.  Her year in Japan has really prepared her for this work.  Our major hurdle now is the need of a back-up power supply.  A generator is probably the answer but a large one will consume a lot of diesel fuel which is very costly.  I wish electricity were more reliable. We are still trying to determine how much Moringa can be dried at one time and how long it takes to reach a crispy dry stage. Tafadzwa is just going to have to keep experimenting with the women.

Up to this point the Moringa was not growing rapidly but the last few days it has gotten really hot.  You can almost see the Moringa growing, especially where it has been fertilized with worm juice.

The vermicompost building is complete and the worms are multiplying so fast. They are going to need to market the excess worms.  Albert is interested in getting farmers in the community using worm juice for their crops rather than commercial fertilizer.  HCOC is the demonstration area.  Perhaps it will soon catch on.  This is a step toward Organic Certification.

There is much more happening here but I will bring this letter to a close and finish packing. Tomorrow is a very full day.  I still am not certain if Albert and I will go to Harare tomorrow night.  If so, I will stay with Elizabeth.  Otherwise we will leave early Tuesday morning and do a number of things before I get on the plane.  I know I will be exhausted before I board the plane.

See some of you soon.

In His Service,
Roberta

 

 

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