We just returned yesterday from our two week trip to Zambia, Africa. We were surveying a ministry/organization doing self-sustaining businesses. I have split up the trip into three parts, so don't forget to scroll down past this one and read parts 2 & 3 as well! :)
The name of the project grounds in Zambia is called the Kafakumba Project. The director's current house, and their attached apartment where we stayed, is right on the grounds. Surrounding it are some of the various businesses such as a sawmill, aloe plants, honeybees, and bananas. All of these businesses are self-sustaining and the Enrights (the missionary family running the place) have provided jobs and a steady income for over 1,000 Zambians. In the center of the grounds, there is a large community type center and dormitories that are used for a pastor's training school for 2 months out of the year. They also allow other organizations and groups to use the facility for free for various things throughout the year. What a great ministry! All of what they are doing is expanding to other farm land in the area that they have bought, not just the main grounds. There is a lot of potential here for the Zambians and a lot of potential to do this very thing, or something similar, in other African countries, which is their desire as well. Here are some pictures of some of the businesses at work!
Here are several of the buildings on the Kafakumba grounds. These are the dormitories that house people for the pastor's training school 2 months of the year.
Here is one of the classroom buildings for teaching.
This is the sawmill. They dry the lumber in a large shed like building with a fire before they begin working with it. Here is the part where they cut, sand, and build.
Another closer look.
Some of the main things they produce are these folding chairs, doors, tables, and benches. Then they sell them.
Here are some of the workers in the aloe field. They market and sell the aloe for various things. The neatest thing is for the treatment of HIV, especially since many Africans do not have access to HIV medication. (I can't remember the technical medical terms for my explanation here): People with HIV drink a small portion of the pure aloe a day and research has shown that their levels are equal to or better than the levels received from HIV anti-retro viral medication. Isn't that so cool?!?!
A view of one of the aloe farms.
Here are some of the bananas on one of the farms.
A close-up of some of the bananas.
After the bananas are picked, they are brought here to this storehouse. They are piled up in large crates inside these air conditioned rooms in order for them to ripen.
The bananas ripening in the storehouse.
Once the bananas are ripe they are put outside to be sold to local Zambian women. They come here, buy the bananas, and go sell them for profit.
The honeybee business is located on a farm that the missionaries bought that is not on the main grounds. Here are two Zambians making the beehives.
Here are the bee swarm boxes. They are put high up in trees and collect the honeybees. Then they are transfered to the beehives where the honey is collected. They have a processing plant that prepares all the honey to sell.
A new business that is in the works of being started is raising cattle. Here are some of the first group of cattle to get started. We were able to get real close and touch them. Mekonen did not like their big faces near his! Haha.
The most fascinating business to me are the fish ponds. The fish hatchery is located on the same farm property as the bananas and where they make the honeybee hives. Below is a picture of several ponds for the fish hatchery. It is a very involved process, much more than I thought! They are breeding tilapia fish and are involved in conducting research in the hatchery about how to create the strongest and toughest breed of tilapia for fish farming. They are altering environmental things and all sorts to get the best product. They are even harvesting the eggs and changing the sex of the fish. Amazing. I was truly fascinated. So, the Zambians get a fish pond built on their property and obtain the fish from the fish hatchery. They are taught how to work and manage their ponds. Then once a good crop of fish has grown, they drain the ponds, sell the fish, and then start over. This happens twice a year and they make enough money for an entire year's income. Wow!
Jon and Mekonen standing out over one of the ponds. This is where they feed the fish.