Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Furrow evaluation

Monday Jan 10, 2011

Queen of the Furrows

One of the projects that Rotary has funded is the restoration of 3 furrows in Northern Kilema. This will help provide water to a large area of Northern, Central and Southern Kilema. Water means crops, crops mean better nutrition and money and money means schooling, so this is a very important project. On Monday we toured the furrows, originally built when Tanzania was under German rule. The project will be administered by the Kilema Rotary. Much of the work will be done by the local villagers. The Rotary money will mostly be used for materials to construct intake and controls.

Joseph, treasurer of the Kilema Rotary club took five of us (lead by Kelly McCague whom we dubbed Queen of the Furrow) on a tour of the furrows to show us their current status and what they hoped could be done to improve them. For example one of the reasons that the furrow walls need to be upgraded is that local crabs (a baby one is pictured here on my glove) burrow under the rock walls and cause the water to spill back to the river. We hiked along a good portion of these furrows for the full morning and experienced spectacular scenery for which they could no doubt charge a fee to tourists. The accompanying trails often had challenging footing, intruding vines and trees, and slippery climbs but the whole walk was exhilarating. We of course struggled to keep up the pace in our hiking boots while local club members who accompanied us had no trouble making the trek in flip flops or equally non-supportable footing. At one bend in the river we happened upon a group of local children washing their clothes in the fast flowing water and laying it on the grassy banks to dry.

One of the additional benefits of the day was that we came upon a local marketplace which was teeming with local commerce. Many of the products were unrecognizable to us but trade appeared to be brisk. Much of the produce arrived on the heads of local women who magically were able to walk and balance their cargo with seemingly little effort.

Although it became obvious that the actual labour was going to be far better carried out by the local inhabitants, we came away with a very good comfort level about how the work would be undertaken and were thankful for the experience.

By Doug Holmes and Irene Byrne


Patti said...

Hey, Irene!

It has been really interesting following the Sweat Equity blog and wonderful to see you and Frankie in the pics, too!

Have a wonderful time and know that I am thinking about you!



Sue Leach said...

Hi Folks,
Thanks for the great blog and pictures. I like Kelly's title. We may have to use that one when she arrives home. Thanks Irene and Doug for all the news on the furrow project.

Widit McLean said...

Hi Irene. It's great to hear that you're back in Kilema! Are you rooming in the "dorm" this year?
Have fun!