If I fits, I sits

I began my first full day alone here with a head full of ideas. I first began researching garlic cultuvation. At home in Greensboro, I left some garlic out and it began to grow with no care whatsoever. I remembered I bought garlic at the Lusaka market and decided I will try to help Shamiyoyo for the first time grow this crop for food and sales. To keep a close eye on it, I cut open a 5 L bottle, added soil from near the river, and planted a few cloves. Fingers crossed.

Next, I researched the potential for locally grown crops for use as pig feed or supplements. During my coursework at Virginia Tech, we visited the innovative Polyface Farm in Staunton, VA run by Joel Salatin. I recalled that he raised pigs and said they naturally eat acorns. Though maybe not genetically related, I wondered if peanuts (locally known as groundnuts) could be used. I found that they can comrpise 10-30% of a pig's diet, but too much makes the pork too soft or flabby. Still, this was a win as groundnuts can be grown and purchased locally for at least 25% cheaper than the current feed from Lusaka, not even accounting for the near elimination of transport costs.

My second idea was the corn cobs that litter the yards and fields of the village. Sources say it can work. This would be an effectively free source of feed. After stripping off the kernels for nshima, the corn cobs are discarded on the ground and sometimes used to fuel fires. However, too much in a pig's diet can reduce the nutrient uptake from the other feed and cause the pigs to defecate more and more often.

Balance and moderation is the key but combined, these alternative local feed sources could significantly reduce operational costs and provide resiliency against drought. As a test, I collected some groundnut shells and corn cobs and threw some to each pig. Every pig readily consumed both so I informed the pig farm cooperative and they're on board. To drive my point home, I collected 5 kg of corn cobs, equivalent to about four full plastic grocery bags, over the course of an hour and stored them with the rest of the pig feed.

After taking a nap in my hammock, I took a bath. Luckily, I am not a big guy.

If I fits, I sits (I really did sit)

If I fits, I sits (I really did sit)

That is the village bath, a maybe 24 in. by 16 in. plastic tub inside a roofless grass enclosure of roughly 7 ft by 7 ft.


It was all I needed, though I felt a little uneasy hearing rustling leaves nearby but realized it was only a chicken.

In the evening, I played chess with Wana, refusing to go easy on him so he learns and improves. Alright, I did let him take back a few moves. I was surprised last year when he asked to play chess on my phone. Frustratingly, the app I had only allowed you to play online and I didn't have service. Before this trip, I bought a travel size chess set to give to Wana. I think it will be good for him as a mental exercise and to pass the time, especially in the rainy season when most of the time is spent indoors.

#3wins: 1) I won in chess 3 times so there are your #3wins. But really, it was fun playing chess and I'm impressed with Wana's skill level given his circumstances. I haven't met anyone else in Shamiyoyo who knows how to play, 2) I'm preemptively calling Wana's and some of his family's first viewing of a full length movie a win. The Lion King is a top 3 favorite movie for me and I'm excited to see their reactions, and 3) (TMI alert) I had my first BM in 4 days, so all systems go.

Update: Wana and his cousin Mary absolutely loved The Lion King. They burst out laughing when Hakuna Matata started as it has a similar meaning in their native language. Such a cool experience to see them enjoy it so much.

Long live the king!

Long live the king!

Ben KirbyComment