Water is the great limiting factor in Malealea. The questions, “How much water do you have access to?” and “How long does it take to get there?” will entirely define your life. For the people of the village of Tsingawe, the answers were “Not very much” and “A very long time.” The tap that services the entire village of Tsingawe is hundreds of meters outside of the village, far beyond where anyone lives. To grow plots right outside their homes required a herculean effort, and many people just were not able to grow enough food to stay healthy, let alone grow enough to make an income.
The Tsingawe Community Garden is a communal piece of land with numerous garden plots and an orchard. The MDT constructed a reservoir within the garden, and this reservoir pipes to two water tanks in the orchard. Villagers can grow vegetables in their garden plots using water from the reservoir while the tanks make maintaining the orchard a cinch.
The MDT also provides subsidized seeds to members of this community, as well as lessons at the MDT’s Teaching Farm about how to increase yields by protecting soil from the sun using netting or mulching, from bugs by using a cocktail of bitter and sour herbs called Tea Pest, and from soil degradation by alternating tap-root and fibrous-root plants within a plot.
All of this assistance and leadership helps the people of Tsingawe grow enough to eat while freeing up more time for productivity in other sectors. The goal is always for people to be able to move above a subsistence life to a life earning income.
- We provide subsidized seeds to these gardeners to help them produce above a subsistence level. Any donation of funds can help us bear these costs.