The last time I blogged was before Christmas Day. The past two weeks have been very busy. After having been engrossed in my article on immigration, which I finally completed and sent off to the editors at the UCLA Critical Planning journal on Monday (Dec. 27), I am now able to concentrate on doing more outreach and on following up with potential contributors. I am happy to report that we have made progress in the funds department. I went out on a rather cold Saturday last month. Unfortunately, most people were not home and, therefore, I was not able to reach as many people as I would have liked. Nevertheless, my neighbors in Sunderland helped me out with contributions totaling $45 to send me closer to my departure date. Another positive outcome of that effort was the volume of CUSO-VSO informational sheets and contribution forms I distributed to those, who did not contribute on that day.
My siblings also very generously helped me out. Instead of buying me presents, I asked them to put the money that would have been spent on a gift towards my sponsorship. I raised another $130 over the holidays to bring my total funds raised to $185. For those of you, who intend to give, please do so in the next month. I would like to raise $2000 by February 17th, 2011. In the meantime, I am still investigating the trappings of an inoperable credit card mechanism on my fundraising page with CUSO-VSO. If you can not contribute via credit card, do so using PayPal if you have an account with them, or send me the check made out to CUSO-VSO with my name written in the memo section. I will enter your data on my spreadsheet and then send all the contributions as snail mail packets to the CUSO-VSO headquarters. My address is 184 Plumtree Road, Sunderland, MA. 01375.
My gratitude is extended to my siblings, Monique, Nicole, and Boyet, my friend Tom Dworkin, and my neighbors, Jae, Thomas, Renee, Fatima, and Russell. As the CUSO-VSO headquarters processes the contributions, those names will also show up on my fundraising page. I truly appreciate your help with this project.
All this talk about money got me thinking about food and survival. In a previous blog, I explained that I would write about different aspects about life in Zambia in order to orient readers to the magnitude of needs there. I have decided to devote this next blog to describing one livelihood obstacle in the Sinazongwe District: rain, rain, rain!
I found an interesting article about agricultural potential in rural regions in Zambia. The study examined soil fertility, in relation to climate change, as a method of understanding potential for future productions. Contrary to my assumption about all countries in Africa, being somewhat ignorant about the continent's geography, parts are quite damp, not arid. The article depicts parts of Zambia as quite soggy with heavy rainfall, averaging about 1300 to 1400 millimeters of rainfall per year, and is susceptible to flooding. The Sinazongwe District is one such place.
The southern region is apparently replete with nutritious field crops, like maize and sweet potato, and holds its own with the value-added and much-revered cotton. All provide a cash income for villagers. Some parts of the southern region are more productive for certain crops than others. The heavy rainfall, however, pose a danger to continuous farming. Floods and heavy rain tend to destroy the field crops. Villagers, who have relied on cash crops for income were forced to switch to livestock, as they provide a more stable income source than field crops. Some have also abandoned their agricultural fields as a means of coping with the temperamental weather. The researchers of the article discovered that the worst affected agricultural plots are those with poor drainage, an obstacle that represents a potential project for urban planners and may help villagers cope with the excessive rainfall.