In the fourth part of my travel report, I tell about the impressions I gained while visiting the fields of our project participants. In addition, I was able to meet the mayor of Vilankulo and learn more about the projects of Izelia and Carlos.
Visit of the Farmers
Today I already met at 5:30 a.m. with the trainers of our agricultural project to go together to the fields of our project participants. Since it was already very warm in the early morning, I made sure to take enough water with me. I was really looking forward to visiting the farmers! The drive to our first stop took just under an hour. Luckily, we had a car with four-wheel drive, as there are no good roads to the fields.
Better Yields Through More Knowledge
First, we visited the fields of Senhor Macicane, who has always worked as a farmer and specializes in growing tomatoes. This season, he earned 80,000 meticais (about €1,199.30) just from selling the tomatoes he produces.
Senhor Macicane owns 1 hectare of land where he grows both tomatoes and cucumbers. He has big problems especially with the irrigation of his fields, although they are located near a lagoon. However, he does not have a water pumping system and therefore has to collect the water in containers and irrigate his fields by hand. His goal is to install an irrigation system to facilitate the work and increase production even more.
Next, we visited the cultivation fields of Senhora Ana. Her fields are located about 20 minutes by car from Senhor Macicane’s fields and are also near a lagoon. During the agricultural project, she mainly grew tomatoes and was able to make a profit of 25,000 meticais (about €374.78). Senhora Ana has other cultivated areas, but so far she has not been able to plant them for financial reasons. In the coming season, she would like to cultivate them in order to increase her production. When we visited Senhora Ana, she was preparing her fields and planting new beds. She felt very honored and proud to have us visit her. I also noticed how grateful she was to participate in the agriculture project and that she radiated a great sense of satisfaction.
We then went to the fields of Senhora Zelia, who also grew tomatoes this season. However, the 50-year-old had difficulties in selling, since almost all farmers grew mostly tomatoes. Due to the large surplus, she earned only 18,000 meticais (€269.84) at the sale. Next year, Senhora Zelia therefore wants to grow more lettuce.
I was very impressed how humble she was and with what warmth she welcomed us. On her field I could see many techniques that Senhora Zelia learned at the agriculture project and implemented directly. In addition, she was able to pass on her new knowledge to farmers in her community, and was also responsible for distributing seedlings to other farmers there.
Unfortunately, there was not enough time to visit all the participants of the agriculture project, as I had my next appointment at 11 am. I would meet with William Tunzine, the mayor of Vilankulo, at the city council. Before that, I wanted to go back to the hotel to prepare for the appointment and freshen up.
Meeting with Mayor William Tunzine
I was already able to meet Mayor William Tunzine in 2019 during his visit to FHF in Stuttgart and during a delegation visit to Vilankulo with DMG.
I appreciated very much that the appointment with William Tunzine came about and that he took the time for us. The meeting was mainly about the upcoming construction of the vocational training center, which is planned together with the Vilankulo community and DMG. In addition, we exchanged information about the FHF projects and the cooperation with the municipality.
Successful Agricultural Project
I was very pleased to tell the mayor about the great success of the agriculture project. He was also pleased to hear that our greenhouse is considered a model project for the entire area in and around Alto Macassa, and two more have already been built with the help of government support.
I was allowed to visit one of these greenhouses when I visited the production fields of our farmers. I could not have wished for a better impact of our commitment on agriculture in the region. I am very proud of the work done by the trainers and project participants, and happy for the many farmers who benefit from it.
Exchange on the construction of the vocational training center
The mayor told that the municipality has already provided a plot of land for the construction of the vocational training center. This will be built in cooperation with DMG, with FHF financing the vocational school for catering and hospitality.
Inspection of the Property
Afterwards, we visited the 2.94 hectare plot of land on which the vocational training center is to be built. This is in a very good location, not far from the city center and directly on the road.
Despite the proximity to the city center, the surrounding area is not yet heavily built-up. Since I saw many uninhabited areas during my trip, this did not surprise me much. People prefer to live in urban areas where infrastructure is already in place.
The hotel school will be FHF’s first construction project. We are excited to be involved in all phases of the project from land identification to implementation.
Exploration Tour to Inhassoro
We learned that there is already a vocational training center in the town of Inhassoro, 84 km away. This is financed by SASOL and GIZ and trains young people in areas such as accounting, cooking and processing agricultural products. (https://society.sasol.com/inhassoro-training-centre-produces-more-artisans)
In order to be able to talk to the director and get our own impression, we drove about 2.5 hours by car to Inhassoro. Unfortunately, a meeting with the director was not possible, because no one was there at that time. In addition, we were not allowed to take any pictures without permission, since it is a private school.
Art Gallery and Picture Book About Vilankulo
Around 17:00 we were back at our hotel in Vilankulo. There I had arranged for a short get-to-know-you meeting with Izelia and Carlos in the hotel lobby. The meeting was very cordial, although we did not immediately recognize each other. The young couple is around 30 years old and very socially involved. I was eager to hear what their new projects, a coffee table book about Vilankulo and the construction of an art gallery, were all about.
Izelia and Carlos told me how the ideas for the new projects came about and what they mean to them. The gallery is located far away from the typical tourist spots, but they deliberately chose that. Instead, they want to bring tourists closer to the culture and traditions of the regions, and in their opinion, this is best done in the villages.
I was very impressed by how much they like living here and how well known they are in the area. During our meeting, people kept stopping by to say hello to Izelia and Carlos: from hotel employees to -guests and city employees who met at the hotel for meetings.
I was very happy to meet them and hope that together with FHF we can find a way to support the young couple in their endeavors.