Thursday, January 10, 2013

Saying goodbye to my village after 7 years - December 2012

Saying goodbye is never easy, when you know it is for the last time it is even harder.

For the the last 7 years I have spent most of my non-traveling time in a small village in Botswana. When I first arrived, the village was not very prosperous, they relied on outside help, and had no plan to become a sustainable village. The village could not survive on it's own, let alone prosper. Seven years later the village is 100% self sustaining. So, it is time for me to move on.

How did our village transform over the last 7 years?

One of the first projects we did was create an economy based on agriculture. The climate where the village is located is perfect for growing pineapples. The issue was fertile land. I lent the village elders some money to buy elephant dung to fertilize the pineapple fields.

Our first harvest not only produced enough crops for the village, there was a surplus that we sold at market. I was paid back and the village had some money to invest.

Our next project was to take care of some of the hygiene issues. We built a compost Toilet, using some of the profits from the Pineapple sales we even made it solar powered. This solved two issues; the issue of sewage and hygiene and the issue of fertilizer for the fields. We now had a sustainable farming project in place. We no longer had to purchase Elephant dung we could simple use the compost from the compost toilets as fertilizer. With a very nice donation from Chephart Yosh we quickly built our second a compost toilet.

Next we worked on our energy plan, we implemented both solar and wind. Giving us sustainable, zero emission energy. Our village was fortunate to secure a $5,000 grant from the United States to put up a wind turbine.

Ray Mathis of Tutto Metal Designed donated his time to help teach us how to build our own wind generator.

We still had a issue with fresh water, each day the villagers had to walk to the river to get fresh water using 5 gallon jugs. With a few tweaks Ray was able to have the wind turbine also power a fresh water pump. Giving us fresh water directly in the village. we killed two birds with one stone.

The highlight and true proof that we created a sustainable village was in May of 2010 when Bill Clinton came to visit our village to see what we had done.

In 2010 our village economy was based solely on agriculture. We decided we needed to be a more diverse so we created some adventure tourism attractions. With paragliding and Tubing . Our economy could now sustain an economic hit if we have a bad crop of pineapple.

Our next project was about insuring the future for the children, up to this point the kids either went without an education or traveled far to get one. We now had an economy that could afford to build a school and maintain teachers.

Life for the village was greatly improved from health and economic standpoint, though the village elders worked hard to keep the villagers well grounded so they would retain their simple and happy life. This has been very successful.

After 7 years the village has out grown me and what I have to offer, so I will be returning one last time to say goodbye.

At the same time I will be looking for a new place to live. Believe it or not the United States is an option, I enjoy third world countries and it seems like the government of the United States is trying hard to move from a world leader to a third world indebted country, so the United States maybe a contender as a place to settle. Though it will be sometime before I decided where I settle.

Before heading to my village in Botswana I will be spending some time in Senegal. Margarite has a United Nations friend working in Senegal that we will be visiting, before we head to our village in Botswana.



1 comment:

Daniel Francis Seamus said...

you might consider a small village called new town in the USA. we need a wind turbine here too.