Zimbabwe Project Reviews - October 2009
The original concept for the gardens was to grow food for families, sell the surplus, pay tithing, and to provide seed, inputs, and sprays for the next year. Many of the garden projects have done very well in the food production phase, but almost all have struggled with inputs and sprays. I cannot speak of the tithing that is, or is not being paid. Those that have a functioning, reliable garden committee are those that have been the most successful. Those that do not have such a committee struggle. Many of the gardens are located on the church grounds; some are on adjacent lots, or school grounds, where they have arranged to plant.
Many of the branches continue to come to Latter-day Saint Charities (LDSC) looking for seeds, starts, inputs and sprays, including for the up-coming maize planting season. We have not given them any of those things since we have been here. As a result, many of the garden plots, in Highlands, are not being used (no functioning garden committee), while other gardens are flourishing. Some of the other branches, in other cities, are still planting what they can, some are not. Branch Presidents are reluctant to use Fast Offerings to purchase these items, as the same will be expected year after year. The concept of saving for the next year has not taken root in many branches.
There have been a large number of garden projects through the years. The members really need the gardens, but also need to take the responsibility to do what it takes to perpetuate the gardens.
We have had a number of requests to help the members start up large scale gardening projects. We have resisted these requests, as this should be a function of the branch president, stake president, not LDSC.
We have not been involved in a wheel chair project; they are on hold. From what we have learned, there is a huge demand for chairs throughout the three countries. Hospitals are in very short supply, there are long waiting lists in every organization that supply chairs to the handicapped, and we receive many requests from individuals, and ministers, for wheelchairs for the needy.
When we arrived in Harare, in March, there were almost 200 requests from individuals, members, bishops, and pastors for wheel chairs. We had about 10 chairs; they have all been distributed, long back.
There has not been a wheelchair project approved in this mission since 2007, when Elder and Sister Hobbs were here. From information the Hobbs and Turners left, the 10 provincial medical directors expect 20 wheelchairs each as a show of co-operation. We do not know if this is a requirement, or just what was done by the couples. There remains a tremendous need for chairs.
Blankets, soap, hygiene kits, school kits, clothes, etc.
As we understand what has happened in the past, LDSC has brought in many containers of goods from the SLC Distribution Center. We have talked to pastors who would come to the mission office on a regular basis, and receive large amounts of goods to take out to their congregational areas. We do not know what happened to the goods once they left the control of LDSC. It does not appear there was any work that was done in return for the goods received; nor do we know who actually received the goods.
We have inherited a container of such goods. Rather than have the pastors take the supplies, we have arranged to go out to their areas and give the clothes, hygiene kits, blankets, etc. directly to the people. This has been very well received. We have not required any work to be done, but we have asked the pastors to limit the recipients to widows, orphans, or seniors who are not able to provide for themselves. We also have the pastor arrange for some of their people to help sort, and distribute the items.
One pastor, we went out with, told us LDS Senior Missionaries told him his family comes first, so, when we got to where he has his preaching area, he had his brothers, his sister, their spouses all there, and they started loading up. We took everything back, gave them one of two things, and told them all the clothes, blankets, etc, were for the people he invited to come. However, as the people leave the location, they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and soon the whole community comes with a sense of entitlement; if they got, we should, too. There are a lot of very poor people, but it is difficult to determine those who actually need, from those who just want.
We visited 5 water projects that were done in 2007. We took Bruce, from Geo Pumps with us, as he had been involved with these projects and could guide us to them.
#1. Danangwe Secondary School: In 2007 the existing worn-out bush pump was removed and completely replaced with new parts (except the pump head). We were disturbed to find only the casing coming out of the ground surrounded by broken up concrete. Apparently they had removed the pump without securing the pipes and a pipe fell down inside the casing. They were not able to retrieve it so they thought that if they broke up the cement they could get the larger casing pipe out and go deeper into the hole, but that was not the case. The pump assembly has been put into the school for safe keeping. Solution: Bruce says he can bring in a machine (fisher) that will retrieve the pipe and it can be repaired and new cement put in at a cost of approximately $550.00.
#2. Danangwe Primary School: In 2007 the existing worn-out pump was removed and completely replaced with new parts (except the pump head). We were pleased to find the pump working and people using it. It does need some simple maintenance (grease) but the school does not have any. They say the community has taken over the use of the pump and expect the school to maintain it. However, the school does use it as well. The school is extremely poor (about the poorest conditions we have seen at a school here) and it is understandable that they have no funds for maintaining the pump. Solution: Check to see if any individuals who were trained in the maintenance of the pump are still in the area and get the committee going again. Bruce says that he left a lot of grease, etc. there for them.
#3. Kandega Village: In 2007 a 50 meter borehole was drilled and a new Type ll Bush Pump was installed with a concrete pad all around. According to a near-by resident this pump only worked for about a month. He is storing the handle but some other parts were missing. He said they may have been taken to the school but we found a person who said he had given them to the councilman. He got nervous when we suggested that we should talk to the councilman. We think he used the parts in his business of welding/constructing ‘art’ out of junk. According to Bruce, from Geo Pumps, the people were instructed to wait 3 weeks before using the pump so that the cement could set up nicely around the pump casing. They did not wait and caused damage. (The handle should have been stored for the 3 weeks period.) Solution: The pump could easily be repaired for about $450.00 ($300 parts, $150 labor).
#4. Ezentabenni Resettlement area: In 2007 a 55 meter borehole was drilled and a new Type ll Bush pump was installed with a concrete pad all around. This pump looked perfectly fine but is not working. It was also used too soon after installation and the casing became loose. They put more cement around the casing but that did not remedy the problem. It is sad because here is a lovely looking bush pump and no one can use it. Instead the people are walking to a spot where a borehole used to be and dipping milky looking water out of small pool. Solution: Pull out the casing and reset it and recast with cement. Cost approximately $400. The man who lives close by and has the handle to the pump would likely be a great candidate to train in the maintenance of the pump and would take responsibility for it.
All of the above pumps no longer have a security fence around them. In most cases the barbed wire has been stolen and fence posts gone. The Danangwe Secondary school pump did have most of the fence still in place. We would like to consider getting these pumps back up and operational. (Total cost: approx. $1500 USD). We feel like it was a problem that no one ever checked back on these projects and that may be because of the unstable political situation of the country in the past.
#5. Kadoma Regional Hospital: A back-up water system for the hospital to use when the municipal water system is down was done in 2007. They built a security building and installed a mono pump, 650 meters of pipeline, four, 10,000 litre storage tanks on 6 meter stands and check valves. Also extended electrical power lines 300 meters to the borehole. The system is not being used because the pump is not large enough to pump the distance and height to the water storage tanks (650 meters of gradual uphill plus 8 meters in height). One of the storage tanks has blown off the stand and the hospital has it in storage. It likely blew off because it had no water in it. The hospital says the pump keeps breaking down. It is an old style mono pump. Also the hospital says that they were getting mud through the pipes.Bruce thinks it is about a 2 h.p. motor and he thinks we should have a 5 h.p. submersible pump to do the job properly. He thinks perhaps the pump is too low, thus getting some muddy water. Cost: approx. $2,500.00 USD.
These people want to build a church on this site so they were working at removing this huge rock. They will drill and blast it soon.
Once in a while we see vehicles, even buses, that look like they are driving down the road kind of side ways since the alignment is so far off. Looks really strange.
This truck is actually going down the road straight - the alignment is way off!
This truck is actually going down the road straight - the alignment is way off!
Peacock at Kadoma