The first thing I did at the Kitwe Provincial Agricultural Show was to get an HIV test done. That’s because Robert wanted to check out the tools and equipment at the Sandvik site , a Swedish company supplying industrial tools and equipment. My nurse friend Margaret and I checked out Sandvik’s Social Responsibility Program, which was offering free testing of blood pressure, blood sugar, malaria and HIV. It is part of the routine screening Sandvik offers its employees and their families every three months. The Zambian government asks all corporations to have a Social Responsibility Program. Not all do, but Sandvik does, also providing many community services such as career training for the disabled. Julie was there in her wheelchair, taking orders for the beautiful embroidery and tailoring pieces her group was offering for sale.
Zambia takes agriculture training seriously. Prisoners, soldiers and students are taught how to farm, to enable them to at least grow their own food. A beautifully tended garden with shiny red tomatoes, dark eggplant, carrots and much more, invited visitors to check out the Zambian National Service. Besides agriculture, soldiers are offered training in carpentry, metal work, tailoring and making shoes.
Kamfinsa Prison also had a vegetable garden in front of their building, along with pottery, furniture and metal work. They aim to empower prisoners with skills that will provide them a living upon release. The instructor explaining their system to us claims that few reoffend.
What can all be grown in the Copperbelt Province could be seen in the Fair hall, where all seven districts had a display featuring produce and products from their area – maize, millet, wheat, groundnuts, beans, cassava, yams, rice and much more. There were all the tropical fruits – papaya, pineapple, citrus, the jams, the dried vegetables and fruits. It’s all there. It can all be done. I wish we could have brought our farmers here to see this, to be inspired by what is possible. Or would they think it is beyond them, they couldn’t do it?
Our friends Stanley and Hilda Ngulube were there with their Moringa products. Stanley now has over 1000 Moringa trees, selling Moringa leaf powder in capsules and loose, tea leaves, seeds and seedlings. Captive posters on the wall extolled the virtues of this miracle tree, and a TV set showed a program the local television had done on Stanley’s farm recently. He claims no one would need to use expensive food supplements if they would take Moringa powder regularly. Moringa trees are easy to grow and their leaves contain all the nutrients a person needs.
It was a great show – complete with food stands, horse and dog shows, market street, kiddie rides, face painting and a huge crowd. No one wants to miss the Agriculture Show!
(My own camera disappeared – lost? stolen? – last week. So am borrowing cameras for pictures for now.)