Despite all our precautions, Tiko has not entirely escaped Covid 19. Tests were offered at St Francis Hospital and the crew was sent to take one. Jason and Lozindaba turned out positive, so I immediately asked the driver and Abel to come with me and get tested, since the five of us had travelled to Chipata together two days earlier. It turned out that Lozi and Jason and Alistair tested positive, while Abel and I were in the clear.
Only the ‘positive’ ones were told to self-isolate for five days, although Jason went to another room in the hospital to get this in writing and the health official there told him to self-isolate for 14 days. But our hospital was not so strict and when Alastair went back after 5 days, he was found to be virus free, together with most of the 15 people in the same position. It seems that the fast test gives a lot of false positives. Abel and I follow all the rules, and our environment is ideal for physical distancing and fresh air. Of course, this experience alerted us to the possible consequences of both Abel and me getting seriously sick, so we both don’t travel any more.
HARD WORKING CHRISTMAS GUESTS
One day before Christmas Kate and Mick arrived. They run former FPZ (Fighting Poverty in Zambia) which is now Zambia and Malawi Community Partnership. They had been visiting projects in Malawi and Zambia that are supported by their organisation in the UK. We three had Holy Evening on 24, with stylish home-cooked dinner and Christmas songs in the Rondavel, where they were staying.
However, Kate and Mick had come to work. Bearing in mind the current situation they asked the important members of the crew and others involved in Tiko what they would do, if Elke was caught by Covid-19, so they could continue to send money to Tiko.
I am delighted to report that the crew felt that they could manage, as they had done in those years, when I went overseas fund-raising. Abel was told that he could contact Mick via email or WhatsApp and ask for money to be sent, with a description of what it was intended for, so that Tiko could continue after the demise of Elke. All who donate or collect money for Tiko will receive more detailed notice of this after further deliberation of the processes involved.
Kate and Mick relaxing with the crew in the verandah.
In addition, Kate and Mick helped me to prepare an application to the Ministry of Commerce for a newly-announced grant to those wishing to set up an agri-business. This they greatly improved by using all the terms for such an application. This had to be submitted by 31 December and required that Tiko apply via the local co-operative office. The Tikondane Community Development Cooperative Society had been registered in 2003 and had a tax number, signature, stamp, and project number of the local cooperative. Luckily, on Dec. 31 we were given a week’s respite and told by the recipient to add all the government organisations as helpers so again I worked on the document. It was touch and go, but we made it! Thus, there is some chance that members of Tiko Community will find themselves owning flourishing chicken farming businesses in the not-too-distant future.
Beating Covid-19 with climate change resilience
Like so many crowdfunding campaigns, at this time when so many people are facing uncertain times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tiko has not yet reached the target of € 4096. As of January 2021, we stood at € 2563. However, the project is still progressing as shown by the following reports of our various activities.
CLIMATE CHANGE – WELL WHAT’S NEW?
The rains were very early in November and there was even too much water. Now we are worried about possible flood damage to the crops!
Too much water! Joyce at the broken bridge near the school.
Just right – Hilda in the flourishing soy bean field.
CHICKEN FARMING PROJECT
So far, our layers are doing very well, each producing an egg almost every day (goal for Black Australorps 250 a year, for Kuroilers 200). We are now waiting for the electricity connection for the incubator and the dehuller. The former will ensure that we can supply day-old chicks to the three Tiko women, who have their chicken houses waiting. When the dehuller is in operation we shall be able to produce food for our chickens, but patience is one thing there is plenty of in Africa, so – we shall overcome!
Our flock of Australorps in their splendid home.
Joyce outside her chicken house when it was not quite ready.
The yam plants are growing apace. The last newsletter showed only the holes that were prepared with much effort. So far, the efforts seem to have been rewarded. With good rain the young plants are ready to be tied to their bamboo supports and hopes are high for the harvest to come, which we shall certainly need.
Strings are tied to four young plants and then to a strong bamboo pole. Now we must hope that the sun and rains will do their work and a good first yam harvest will follow.
We can only hope that you all have as much hope for the future as the Tiko crew and that once again we can welcome visitors and volunteers to join us in our community
The very best wishes and stay safe,
Elke and the crew
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