By Bob Fish
The next day we had an early start to meet with Senior Chief Mushli of the Republic of Zambia, without whose wisdom, grace, and foresight neither the orphanage nor the coffee farm would exist. Being a Tribal Chief in Zambia is a very big deal… bigger even than being a Governor of a State or a Congressman. We were quickly tutored in the appropriate etiquette. He was very interesting to meet, and it was an extraordinarily humbling experience. (READ: The Chief )
The Living Hope Coffee Farm
Adjacent to the Orphanage is the Living Hope Coffee Farm. We toured the fields, examined the reservoir and irrigation, reviewed the nursery, and met many of the workers. These were mostly women (it was said that the work was too hard for men), who had given their land to the farm in exchange for access to potable water, a wage that is three times the national average, and other community resources.
Farming coffee is very labor intensive and there are easily at least 200 hard working hours that go into producing the pound of green bean we get here. We saw the buildings where the initial processing takes place at harvest time. The fruit is removed, and the seeds (beans) are dried by sun and air on racks. We met Wana Chipoya, son of Davies, who had just come back from three months in Peru learning more about effective coffee farming practices: pruning, planting distances, composting to get higher organic components in the soil, and adding shade trees about every 5th to 10th coffee bush. Coffee needs direct sunlight, but shade trees like banana, macadamia, and avocado help diversify the soil and provide shade for the workers while in the field.
To demonstrate their commitment to improved agriculture we spent the afternoon with the Dr Moffit Zimba, Founder/President/Vice Chancellor of Northrise University where we received an in depth tour of the University, buildings, and test fields. Northrise was about 45 minutes away from the farm and we met Dr Moffit at a hotel first where we had an extensive lunch and getting to know you moment.
Sometimes Travel Gets Tricky
Along the way, we stopped at the local grocery store for bottled water and a few snacks. Although we were taking our Malaria pills, we were careful never to drink the local water. The primary industry in Ndola is copper smelting and petroleum refining. Not surprisingly, the air is often thick with bad smells, and there’s a sheen and a funny color to all of the rivers and streams in the area. A ready supply of bottled water is a lifeline. While Lee was in the store picking up supplies, Michelle had quite the run in with some soldiers, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever been that close to what looked like an AK-47. (READ: AK47)
After another ‘always on’ full day it was time to get back to the hotel and get a little rest for our travels to Lusaka (the Capitol of Zambia) the next day.