Minchinhampton Nkokoto Link - April 2018

Armyworms: Fortunately, gardeners and farmers in the UK don’t have to deal with many of the problems that our friends in Tanzania have to face, and of course Nkokoto is lucky in that, being in the north-west of the country, it doesn’t have elephants tramping over the crops as do parts of safari park Tanzania!

One little problem (in size only) is that of the much-feared armyworm caterpillars, (also called fall armyworms) that have returned to Tanzania and much of East Africa. These little creatures burrow unseen right into the hearts of the maize, soybean, potatoes, tobacco crops and sugar cane and, once the worms turn into moths, they can lay up to 2,000 eggs in different places within a lifespan of 30 days, spreading fast, far and wide, in huge numbers. The armyworm has the power to wipe out vast areas of crops. It can be controlled with specialised but costly chemical sprays but the average smallholder or farmer in villages like Nkokoto does not have the cash to pay for these pesticides. We understand though that the Tanzanian Government is investing in the purchase of pesticides to control this pest. On a brighter note, we understand that the rains this season have been ok enabling the farmers to produce a good level of crops.

Update on projects 2018: The Link has been in touch with Stima to ensure that the planned projects for 2018 are going ahead or are at the planning stage

  • Repairs to the nurse’s house are arranged, (I quote from Stima’s email) “We have arranged that we shall use a local guy (builder) who will do the job according to the amount of NkokotoWaterTankmoney. There are two villagers who did a good job during the construction of the latrines. One is a builder, another is a carpenter.….all badly damaged parts of the house will be repaired.” Our contribution to this project is 1,800,000 Tz/= (£600)
  • 15 villagers have requested a loan under the microfinance scheme.
  • We have agreed to give a donation (payable on four occasions – March, June, September, December - to the 107 poorest households in Nkokoto so that they can buy food and uniforms for their children to attend school (about 25,000 Tz/=, £10.00 each family).
  • The same two “guys” who are repairing the nurse’s house have been contacted to repair the rainwater harvesting tank (pictured), buying cement, gravel, sand, PVC, etc., and Stima hopes that 2,000,000 TZ/= ( £660 ) will be enough.
  • The aim is to build the teachers’ house before the end of the year, but costings are not available yet. There is plenty listed above to get on with!!

The Murder Mystery Evenings were delightful. Everyone enjoyed the event and many supporters have said it was the best yet. Our thanks go to Gerry Robbins, who wrote the play and the table quiz; to the drama team who performed so well; to Alan and Adrian, the lighting engineers; to everyone who helped in any way at all, and of course, to the Link Committee who willingly give their time and skills to work all through the year to raise funds for our friends in Nkokoto. Thank you to you all.

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The Annual Meeting of the Link is on Friday April 13th at 7.30 p.m. at the Hub. The business part of the meeting will be followed by an illustrated report of Rod’s visit to Nkokoto in September. Refreshments will be available. All are welcome.

Rod Harris, Chairman,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Telephone 01453 872317 / 07775652379