The cultivation of the first “Village Garden” began in Zamba village on Nov 10, 2006. We had invited 10 workers to come with their hoes at 9am but due to transport problems we didn’t arrive until 10.30, to find work hadn’t even begun, some people had come and gone and a few remained not sure what to do.
A few “wobblies” later, the word went out that anyone who came would get 200 Kw (about €1.08) for their time instead of the agreed 170Kw per day. Finally we got a Meitheal of 22, 16 of whom were women, who were by far the best workers.
For those of you who are not of an Irish farming background, a Meitheal is a group of farmers who club together to do a specific task, which in my young days were cutting the turf and threshing at harvest time
As the movie shows, The first ‘village garden’ in Zambia, Mzgora they came, they worked, they sweated and cultivated about half of the 1.25 acre plot. This was an amazing feat in lands which were overgrown with nasties that had me running for the sticking plaster.
(John, your hands are too soft, was the comment with laughter!)
Not to mention the temperature, which reached 38.
When pay time came I found that most of the women had never handled money before. When I outlined the no interest credit scheme which will develop from their labour, the shouts and cheers must have reverberated all the way to Lucan.
‘The Movie’ can be viewed in the Wells for Zoë ‘gallery’ along with others.
One more Meitheal finished cultivation the next day and our 6 permanent employees have done all the planting. They decided to use a treadle pump to irrigate for 3 weeks until the rains came, in order to be ready for the market early.
Now I’m told that the maize is shooting up and will be ready to market by the end of February, the weeds are trying to do likewise but without success, garlic is keeping the ants away, road works are in hand and everyone is happy.