Cholera outbreak in Zambia: The severe outbreak of cholera which claimed hundreds of lives seems to be under control. In Lusaka however, they are still experiencing prolonged periods of heavy rain which heightens the risk of further outbreaks
Outgrowers Scheme: In December, seed was distributed to 115 farmers and recent pictures show fields flourishing with healthy crops. These however, are legume crops like groundnuts, soya and peas, which are more resistant to drought. The maize crops, on the other hand, haven’t done well due to a prolonged dry spell in January. In previous years we have seen significant hunger due to the failure of maize crops and we continue to encourage farmers to diversify into cash crops. Previously they were reluctant to do that because there was no guaranteed market, but now we have guaranteed to buy back their crops new opportunities has opened up.
Orphan Programme: The Orphan Support Software is in the process of being rewritten. This is necessary because support for the old system is being discontinued. We are hoping to have it completed sometime in April. For those who use the system to check on sponsored children, we would ask you to please bear with us. The vehicle we use for the orphan scheme is back on the road today after two months in the garage – visitation will recommence this week.
Food Factory: After months of waiting, the electricity company has now surveyed the site and are now preparing a proposal for upgrading the main supply. This is an expensive upgrade since we will have to pay for a new power line as well as a new transformer. Insufficient power has been a major setback to our plans. New machinery is in place but sadly we can’t use it. In the meantime, we have started to produce small quantities of spice mix which will be sold to supplement the peanut butter. The factory remains a key part of our overall strategy since it provides employment for a dozen people and is supposed to make a profit to support other activities. Please pray that we will be able get this upgrade done soon.
Office Block: Sketch plans have been drawn for a small office at Makeni. The present office is modified steel containers which have no toilets or running water. The recent cholera outbreak has added to the local authorities’ insistence that a permanent structure must be built. Cost estimates are still unknown. This week a brother in Lusaka who is familiar with the local building regulations, has submitted plans.