Covid-19: Here’s the latest from Malawi. First, the small COVID-19 outbreak in Mtunthama is over. The country of Malawi overall has seen 5,382 cases with 168 deaths. First case was reported on April 3rd and new cases have been trending down since August 12.
Dairy Project: Unfortunately our excitement over cow pregnancies was premature. None of the heifers are pregnant, apparently because the frozen semen we used had no viable sperm in it. We are in the process of acquiring more semen and ensuring that it has viable sperm at time of purchase and is handled properly so that viability is maintained throughout our transport, storage, and insemination process. Since we’re new at this, I think of such a minor setback as merely a learning opportunity.
Wello Water Wheels: 700 water wheels have been purchased along with the container that they will be shipped from Mumbai India. The ship is supposed to leave for Dar Es Salaam , Tanzania in the next 10 days, so hopefully the container will be in Mtunthama by mid-late September. The container will be used for a combination of storage, office space, and possibly, a small hydroponic project.
Bamboo: 6,000 bamboo saplings have been purchased and will be shipped from Zambia around Aug 27 with the plan that they will arrive in Mtunthama on Aug 28. They will be distributed for free by our sister organization K2TASO soon thereafter.
Ultrasound Probe: The convex array abdominal ultrasound probe for the Edan 60 Ultrasound machine we donated to St. Andrews in 2013 has broken and we were asked to replace it. After much research, we were able to find a replacement, which should arrive in Mtunthama next week.
Hydroponic/Aquaponic System: I have now successfully grown lettuce, radishes, bok choy, with very little effort, using the waste from 4 cichlids (fish native to Lake Malawi but very easy to obtain at PETCO) converted by bacteria to nitrates as the sole nutrient. I have also grown peas and tomatoes using this system but yields are lower than I’d like so far. I have also been able to grow carrots in a separate perlite hydroponic system. Peter Minjale is looking into acquiring 2 systems much larger systems (mine is only good for 51 plants).
Solar Powered Milk Chiller: A work in progress. Having trouble finding a company to provide us with a working system. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas about this, including the knowledge to convert a small freezer or refrigerator to solar.
Reforestation Project: 200,000 saplings are in the process of being planted as we speak.