February 22, 2024

Our water pump is broken!

Jambo dear Pamoja friends,

As I write these lines, Ngina and Shiko are sitting with me on the veranda. When asked what they would like to share with our Pamoja friends, Ngina replies “Photos!” - so here’s a selfie of us. 😊

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Christmas

Even though it feels like Christmas is already a long way off, I would like to take a quick look back. Our Christmas party, for which we appealed for donations in the last newsletter and on our website, was really wonderful. The kids were delighted with the bikes and clothes. Thank you to everyone who made this possible! We also received a belated Christmas present from See Tickets, who donated three MacBooks to us - thank you so much! It’s great that our kids have been given another opportunity to get to grips with technology and familiarize themselves with the internet.

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Community House

I actually wanted to tell you in this newsletter about our decision on the color for our new community center. Unfortunately, that won’t happen, because very little has been done to the community center in recent weeks. I had already suspected that the large metal door would still keep us busy. Unfortunately, the dimensions didn’t actually fit, which is why it is now back with the welder.

Nevertheless, we are at least one step further: we already have a very precise idea of what the outside area should look like and the plan is in place. I’m in contact with Philip, an expert in natural building, who has created a colorful design for the plaster of an eco-lodge that we’ve totally fallen in love with. It looks like he will be coming to Maua Villa (fingers crossed!) to teach our builder Tom the technique. However, the community house is already being used by us every day even without being finished and it doesn’t feel as unfinished as it might always sound in the newsletter.

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Secondary School

So the building site is at a standstill and otherwise things have become pretty quiet in Maua Villa. Our older children, who already go to secondary school, are really missing everything. The little ones in particular miss playing together, reading books and going for walks - not to mention having dinner together 😕 We are really looking forward to the vacations at the end of February (“mid-term break”), when our family will be complete again for four days.

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Broken Water Pump

Almost exactly 6 years to the day since we got our own well in Maua Villa (February 18, 2018), it is dry and we are experiencing our first water standstill. When Ben told me that the pump was no longer pumping water, I initially thought that it was due to all the dust on the solar panels and that the pump was therefore not getting enough power. So we went up to the roof and scrubbed the panels - to no avail: unfortunately, the pump still wasn’t running after the cleaning. No more water in Maua Villa!

We quickly went to the reserves, but they were used up just as quickly. We currently need around 4,200 liters of water to irrigate our farm every third day at the latest. On top of this comes the normal service water for our daily needs. At that moment, I realized how it has already become a habit for us that water simply comes out of the tap and how quickly we forget how precious this vital commodity is. Fortunately, we can have the water we need brought to us from other sources, but that costs a lot of money and is obviously not a permanent solution.

And now? After an independent inspection by the supplier and the pump manufacturer, it was determined that the pump was actually defective. The repair costs would be the same as buying a new one, which is why both parties - the supplier and the pump manufacturer - advised us against a repair. The new solar-powered water pump costs €2,050, including installation and all associated costs.

If you would like to help us to quickly regain access to urgently needed water, we would be delighted to hear from you. your support.

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Permaculture & Agroforestry

The broken pump comes at the worst possible time for our new agroforestry. The rainy season is over and we are struggling with the drought. Our young garden lacks water and we hope that we can keep the plants afloat with the water we have bought. Because our farm manager Ben has big plans for 2024.

In order to have plants in different stages of growth throughout the year and thus a permanent harvest, we are relying on planting the plants in cycles (see here Newsletter 03/2023). This approach has already proven to be excellent and we will definitely continue this practice.

Most of the seeds and cuttings for our so-called Food Forest come from our own cultivation and tree nursery. We were able to produce around 3,000 cuttings there in 2023. Despite this impressive figure, we were unable to achieve our goal of providing enough tree seed for Maua Villa, the community and for sale, which we definitely want to do in 2024. Our 28 chickens are also happy about the lush vegetation in Maua Villa. The diverse plant life not only provides them with variety on the menu, but the kitchen waste also tastes great to them.

This year, we also want to increase worm production in order to have more worm tea (liquid organic fertilizer) and chicken feed. We are planning to grow more mango and papaya trees because they provide us with a long-term source of income, and we want to build a solar dryer. We want to use the dryer to dry moringa leaves and surplus fruit and vegetables from the rainy season in a high-quality, clean and safe way. Our papaya fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, kale, amaranth, managu and amaranth will also benefit in particular, as we will be able to preserve them.

We also want to promote the exchange of knowledge in line with our vision. In the new community house, we want to offer a quarterly training course on various permaculture topics for the farmers in the village community. This will be followed in November by a 14-day permaculture course focusing on agroforestry in collaboration with the Food Forest Network (Sarsarale e.V. and Hungry Cities Permaculture).

We are currently keeping a close eye on our agroforestry and are curious to see how it reacts to the drought. We are constantly integrating more plants to build up the soil and (re)vitalize it. In May, we will draw an interim conclusion and plan the next steps for the agroforestry demonstration farm. We currently only need €200 to set up the demonstration farm. 👉 Would you like to support us?

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Finally, as so often, I have to say “thank you”. Pamoja Africa was born out of the motivation that we can make the world a better place together if everyone does something: together strong!

Lately, I have had the feeling more and more that we are really getting there. So a huge thank you to the whole Pamoja Africa team and to everyone who is involved through their own small and large contributions and supports our work! 🙏

Your Anja with the great support of Heike & Jochen

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