The rains have been good this year, the maize tasseled and the cobs are growing. White-thorn branches have been cut and placed round the maize fields to keep out marauding cattle and a constant battle is being waged at the moment against the monkeys who keep coming to raid the fields as well. Green cobs are being plucked and boiled or roasted and enjoyed at the moment. The ground nuts too are beginning to form in their shells and will be ready in a month or so.
In the country behind Mwandi, March is the month when the flood waters begin to spread and Magumwi and Mushakula, our two furthest outposts are cut off. Today’s rains flooded the fields and roads surrounding Situlu 25km away.This means vehicles cannot reach patients at these places. People on regular medications have been given a three month supply and pregnant mothers nearing their time are urged to come to the Mothers Shelter at the hospital at least 2 weeks before their due date. Clinics will be held at the tar road in a tent and people will travel by dug-out.
The Zambezi at Mwandi is rising and with us is now only a metre below lawn level. The fish - mainly bream, catfish and tiger - have all spawned and the fishing ban is now over. This should help the food situation. Most people in the area are subsistence farmers but those near a river turn their hand to a bit of fishing as well. Catfish are harvested a good bit inland from the river because of the flooding. So the men are now preparing their nets and fishing spears as they return in their dug-outs (mukolo sing. / makolo pl.) to the fishing.
Thanks for keeping in touch through this blog. We thank you too for the letters and the e-mails we receive that from you all. We are sorry that we are not able to answer you all individually!