So much depends on maize (corn). It’s the staple, ground to make maize meal (flour) which in turn is used to cook nshima. And everybody in Mbayi depends on nshima. It’s filling and when combined with veggies provides an adequate meal. However, when you live in chronic poverty, access to seeds is difficult enough but acquiring the fertilizer necessary for a good harvest is impossible for most.
Last year, through this very web site, we raised enough to plant 1 1/2 hectares of maize. I showed you photos of this healthy crop laden with huge ears and of the successful harvest. What you haven’t yet seen are the pitiful fields struggling without the benefit of fertilizer, fields planted with the same hard physical labour, in the end providing a meagre return – so sad.
Let’s take Fly as an example since you’ve already been introduced. The other day I dropped by with a head of cabbage and found him picking, by hand, dried kernels off the cobs in order to accumulate enough for grinding. On the roof of his home, like many others throughout the village, I noticed an insufficient amount stored for future use. No question – this will not last the year, not likely past September.
When the Chairman and elders of Mbayi told me that they’d like to use the fruits of the entire 1 1/2 hectares we donated and they produced to supplement the needs of the elderly, widows and orphans I was touched. After witnessing the starvation throughout the previous rainy season and providing relief mealie ( maize ) meal as best I could, this news made my heart sing.
So- I’d like to propose that this year we double the amount of maize planted in order to sell a portion thereby promoting sustainable access to food in Mbayi. With your help it is entirely possible!
Recently, in the (Zambia) Post I read a letter from a grade 11 student entitled ‘Happiness’. She concluded with “Tell yourself you can do anything that seems to be impossible. And that is what I call happiness.” I concur.