Monday, December 13, 2010

Trip to Southern Africa, Part 2: Zambia and Malawi

Last week, I shared a little about work being done in Swaziland and Mozambique.  This week I'll share a bit about South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi.

In South Africa, one of our partnerships are working to create sustainable businesses for those with HIV/AIDs.  Here we sit to discuss the different co-ops that they are developing.  One that holds a lot of potential is through a contract with the government to place small theaters in 1200 parks, with 21 jobs in each one, creating over 25,000 new jobs, and creating a healthy place for youth to hang out.

From here, we flew to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and spent some time meeting with some partners before driving to Chipata.  Zambia appears to be a beautiful county with lots of green and rolling hills, and lots of space.  Our primary partnerships in both Zambia and Malawi are for programs called "Farmer to Farmer", in conjunction with CRWRC (the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee) and the Food Resource Bank.  These programs currently focus primarily on food security, and the goal of Partners Worldwide is to move these farmers from food security to agri-business, producing enough to sell, to make a profit, and to develop a value chain that will bring the goods to the next level of processing and exporting.
Set in front of this beautiful vista is a small village.  Zambia is slightly larger than Texas, with a population of 13 million.

Again, I'm not sure if you can see it, but another village set in the quiet, peaceful, and beautiful countryside.  The kind of place where I'd like to hang my hat for a while.
A beautiful suspension bridge (in need of some repair but nevertheless) in the countryside of Zambia.
I was happily surprised to see a number of these community faucets with meters in Chipata.
As we enter Malawi, you see a pretty dramatic change in the landscape.  It is suddenly browner, which you come to realize is not because it is so much dryer (the countries are right next to each other) but because so much of the land in Malawi is being used for farming.  Malawi is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania and the population here is over 15 million.  90% of the labor force are engaged in agriculture.
Everywhere you looked, people had houses surrounded by crops.  Since we were entering the rainy season, many people were working in their fields preparing for the rains.

Here is a brief video of the road side in Malawi.
Pictures just don't capture it.  
(You might want to hit "mute" as there is no sound other than the rumbling of the car:-).