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The Congo Project
The Congo Project
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Buyungule Pygmy Community, Kivu Province, CD
Climate zone:
Wet/Dry Tropical

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Making Seed Flats and Rain Harvesting

Project: The Congo Project

Posted by Xavier Fux over 12 years ago

Today we built seed flats and started a nursery!!

Today's first task: building seedling flats so the villagers can germinate and tend to their seedlings before they're strong enough to transplant to the field.
We bought wooden planks and saws and began measuring and cutting the necessary pieces to build the seedling flats. 26 in total. We realized we needed smaller nails, so we went to the village to buy some while Jeff and Ciprian supervized the cutting. When we returned, as we walked down the path through the tea plantation enveloped in green wherever we could see, the air was suddenly filled with  the  sound of angels chanting.... it was breathtaking.  We simply had to stop and let it all soak in... the Pygmies were having choir practice. So for the next few hours we nailed our seedling flats together in the  resplendent atmosphere of women singing. The children were very interested in the process, surrounding us with curiosity in a tight circle full of giggles.  While the men were busy nailing, the women and I took flats down to the field to fill them with soil. Tomorrow we'll plant the season's first seeds!

we do have to admit though,that the Villagers’ response was much less energetic and participative, only 5 people worked this day while the rest just sat and watched. We were repeatedly asked for payment and food.


Second task: rain capture system

Yesterday we made compost beds. One thing compost beds really need is water. It was so painful to ask the pygmies to bring containers of water for the compost when we knew they were probably thirsty. In order to have water, the women have to walk up the mountain, about 2 km away to the nearest stream and carry  back the heavy containers various times a day. We had to provide a solution.

Church roof: we noticed that the water falling off this 10 x 20m roof drops into puddles on the ground. We also saw a flat area nearby, a few meters downhill, surrounded by banana trees, where we could place a pond. We propose digging canals 20cm wide and 20cm deep along both sides of the church roof to direct rainwater downhill, and digging a 4 x 5m pond (1m deep) to contain up to 20m3 (20,000 liters) of water, which can be used to irrigate crops and have water on site.

 Tomorrow the women will work on the seedling flats while the men prepare a simple rain capture system. It will be our last day before heading to Ethiopia for the 2-week permaculture course specialized in rural African communities, so we need to leave them with seeds planted and accessible water... tomorrow's going to be a very productive day!

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