After two consecutive years of drought, this year saw an unprecedented amount of rain fall throughout Zambia. This created problems for some communities as they became inaccessible due to high river levels, but the great news is that it has helped to alleviate the hunger of the past two years.
If you have to walk several miles to school on an empty stomach, being able to receive food from a feeding programme is a huge benefit. Not only does it increase your stamina, but will improve your concentration levels. Sixteen schools in Mukuni and Nyawa Chiefdoms were given seeds and fertilizer thanks to your donations. Every available space is utilized and children are encouraged to help in the gardens.
Now Zambia is in the dry cool season, when no rain will fall until December. All surplus produce has been dried, and this year it is hoped that food supplements will not be as necessary as in recent years. Sadly some of the poorest families have not been able to grow their own food, relying on handouts from neighbours, but can at least eat the local fruits and seeds during this period, providing a much needed source of nutrition.
In addition to the feeding programmes, having access to safe water is vital. As we branch out into new areas more wells and water systems are needed. In March I visited Luzila Village, a community in Sekute Chiefdom, The people have to draw water from a swamp during the wet season. Muselekwa, the Headman, told me that once the swamp is dry, people have to walk almost two miles to Lupani School to fetch water.
Four other villages rely on this swamp for drinking water, washing clothes and bathing. Muselekwa said that 600 people are in much need of a fresh local water source. Although they have access to the school bore hole, besides the distance, the extra demand often depletes the water supply. Muselekwa assured me that water can be sourced where there is a Muhonono Tree!
These communities receive no support from any other charity. Providing safe water and seeds for school gardens are two of The Butterfly Tree’s most successful programmes, together we can reach out to villages like Luzila.