It’s raining, it’s pouring – well it hasn’t stopped raining since our last blog. Every day we seem to have at least one very heavy downpour. Most days either start bright and sunny and then during the afternoon the thunder starts to rumble in the distance warning us of coming rain or we wake up to heavy rain and then it clears during the day.
Despite the rain and soggy conditions we have managed to get on with lots of things. We have completed the foundations for the fowl run (often getting soaked doing them) but at least they are ready now for the main building to start. We are just waiting for some drier weather to be able to dig the pit sand we need to make the mortar.
Our orchard has been flooded several times and we have spent a good few hours digging trenches trying to drain out the water. So far the trees seem to be surviving and coping with standing in a few inches of water.
The beehives remain empty of bees, basically because it’s just been too wet but the hives themselves are keeping mostly dry. We have started sowing seeds and planting some bee friendly plants including fennel, heliotrope, lavender, sage, thyme, mint and catnip. The aim is to build a floral calendar to keep the bees happy throughout the year. We are blessed that the land has an abundance of wild plants and flowers and everyday a new flower appears.
Some shady goings on have been occurring too as we have nearly completed erecting the shade greenhouse for the community vegetable garden. The idea of the shade greenhouse is to protect the plants from the hot sun and to stop the soil drying out too quick. It will also prevent birds from getting to the plants but still allow bees etc. to pollinate. First we had the 20m x 8m area ploughed and then we cemented in place 10 x 2m & 5 x 3m metal poles to form the structure. Tying strong wire between the poles and sewing the 40% shade fabric to the wire. (Edline is scarily useful with a big needle!) We are pretty pleased with the outcome.
We have just set up a small fenced off area of land for the charity’s goats to graze and are using our current small goat house at the homestead until we build the new one. We also spent a wet morning washing the goats in a solution to treat them for tics, anyone who knows goats knows they do not like water – we are not kidding! Initially we gave out 19 goats to 9 families a couple of years ago, there are now 35 goats. (More have been bred but families have sold the odd goat to raise money & a few have died). 17 goats have been ‘paid back’ to us, ready to start further projects or to sell to raise income. Several of these are also now pregnant, in fact two have just given birth just as we write this, so it’s great to see this project expanding.
Another project we are looking at setting up in the future is fish farming. We feel this could really bring in much needed funds and be another new idea for the area. So we spent a day on a fish farming course, learning about fish farming & visiting some ponds. The course is approved by the University of Zimbabwe so we will be getting certificates.
Godalming Junior School Year 3 pupils wrote letters to pupils at Wozhele Primary School and we had the pleasure in dropping them off the other day. We hope to be able to bring replies back with us on our return to the UK in May.
We are spending a couple of days in Harare as we send this to renew my visa and sort out a few other things. One of which is to buy some text books for two of the schools we are working with, St Charles Primary and Wozhele Primary. Currently they are trying to teach without any text books, we are hoping to cover 7 subjects from grade 1-4 for both schools. This would only be one text book per class but it’s better than nothing!! Please, we still need funds, if you can help it would be greatly appreciated.
Finally the other day Edline and I were just taking in all the work that has gone on so far and it hit us at just how amazing our God is. Who would have thought back in 2015 when God gave us the ‘Vision – Ratidzo’ that we could have achieved so much. We had no resources, no real idea of just how we could do this, but we had God and He was all we needed. We continue on, safe in the knowledge that our God is great. Thank you everyone who has journeyed with us and supported us thus far.