Saturday, March 6, 2010

Update on the village March 2010 Bill Clinton to visit our village!

I have been back in my Botswana village for a month now. My absence has shown me the elders and all the villagers have really taken responsibility for being self sufficient. As you may remember when I first moved here, our village was the poster child for a poverty stricken African village. There was no source of economic development.

I realized after speaking with the elders that at one point the village could support itself off its agriculture resources, primarily pineapple. Over the years between drought and over farming this resource was no longer available.

Together we developed a plan that was made up of baby steps that would make the village one hundred percent self sufficient while at the same time not have ANY negative impact on the environment.

We also decided any outside aid would only be accepted if the aid would bring us closer to our goal of being self sufficient.

The first baby step was to successfully harvest a new pineapple crop. Success would be having a crop that could sustain the needs of the village and have enough left over to sell at market and bring in revenue to invest in technology to make farming pineapple sustainable year round. That means making sure the land if fertile and irrigated.

So I made a donation to the village by investing in Elephant dung to fertilize the crops. This was a one time investment so the village would need to grow enough crops to finance future investments in fertilization. We also were taking a gamble that we would have enough rain as we were not ready to tackle the irrigation issue.

We had a banner crop and had a nice bank roll to invest in the community. What to invest in? We had two high priority issues. Dealing with human waste and replenishing the land for our next crop of pineapple. We decided that compost toilets might solve both problems.

You may remember while I was out of town the village elders go so excited about this idea or a compost toilet that they bought a top of the line toilet with a solar powered exhaust fan. The good news was the toilet worked it solved both problems human waste and fertilizer. It also created a job to clean out the toilet (we created the public works department). We just needed more toilets but had no money left.

Chephart Yosh made a nice donation to our village and we were able to build a second toilet.

Next on our list of projects was generating electric power we investigated solar and wind and decided our first project we would be a wind generator. We did this ourselves and also built a water pump into it, so we could pump water from the river to our village for both consumption and irrigation. The windmill worked great.

We now can grow pineapples year round and also have enough electricity to power a refrigerator that we use to store the few medicines we might need.

We have recently started a new industry that will be strictly regulated and only used for export. We have no alcoholic beverages in our village and we want to keep it that way. We have discovered that pineapple can make a very good wine and liquor, so we are going to start a distillery, but the product will only be exported and not consumed at all in our village.

Now that we have executed our plan and have created a completely self sufficient village that has no negative impact on the environment. We reuse all waste produced and hunt or grow all the food we consume. Our energy is all generated from renewable sources. We have been getting a lot of press both locally and internationally. We have recently gotten word that Bill Clinton is coming to visit our village as he would like to use us a case study for one of his foundations.

That brings you all up to speed on the goings on here. I am off on another trip with a few stops, but more on that later.