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Rufaro Makamure

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since Dec 07, 2016
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greening the desert
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Recent posts by Rufaro Makamure

We got some drizzle today which has made it cooler, and a lot more comfortable.  

I followed up with my uncle on his project in Hurungwe, to find out about his sales and progress. He said he sold his tomatoes, but the bulk of the money was spend on a dispute that he had to solve as well as daily needs. We are now adding how we interact with others, as something that might have an impact on our work.

My sister has also started a garden in Masvingo where she stays and she has used her cow dung to make a composts pile. This is another person's progress I will be adding. So it's now three different areas with which I will be updating on, in terms of how we can both grow our own food and take care of the land as we grow in our understanding of our responsibility when it comes to our land.
4 hours ago
I attended 1 session on some program for regenerating land online. I met a man briefly, I don't even know his name, but he seemed really experienced. He mentioned how he couldn't see the possibility of us changing the climate change trajectory and he sounded so genuine and concerned. I felt for him and I was a little surprised that he was taking part in a session meant for making a change and yet he did not have any hope. Personally I believed a 101% that all it requires are people who will take the regeneration challenge up like all our lives depends on it, because we really do depend on it, it will be a matter of time before others follow. It really did not matter to me how long it takes for different people and at what scale because we all have things we have to learn and unlearn.

What if the man with lost hope was kind of right, could we be too late in trying to fix things. If we do not have rain at all or if when it comes it's too damaging, or the sun is too hot, it will be a matter of time before things crumble.  I think prioritizing healing the earth was such a great gift, I got lucky this way, but I am now wondering if my scale and pace has any significance. I remain hopeful, even though I have such questions swirling in my mind.
1 day ago
I went to talk about reducing the number of beds with Kumbi and when I go to the plot I found him planting suckers in some vegetable beds. It was really difficult to talk about this but I had too, we kind of do not have a choice. He did not fight the idea much but he asked to add some beds which he will water using water from the well. He is committed to make things work and it's not been easy, particularly this month, so I respect him so much for this.

I did not succeed with the seedlings again and this time Kumbi's mother offered to help so we will try once more. She has bought into the idea of intercropping maize with cow peas, so we are in this together now. But this is as far as intercropping goes at the plot. Because I haven't successfully proven that intercropping works in the vegetable beds everyone is vouching for mono cropping, so I need to work more on this one.

We will water the maize the best we can. Again there was no power today and we divided labour. 2 on the well and one of us was using water from the tank.

* Our booster pump is a 2hp pump
And our submersible pump is 0.75hp
2 days ago
It's a 1 acre plot, almost half of it has maize and the other part has vegatable beds but they cover less than half since there are also buildings. I will check the specs of the booster pump as well as the submersible one.
3 days ago
I have been thinking long and hard about reducing the number of vegetable beds that we have. It's not raining and we have strained the two pumps we have. Instead of waiting for our equipment to break down I think it's wiser for us to be proactive and reduce the plot's water needs. It might break Kumbi's heart because he has been putting so much effort, but I hope he understands that we were already spreading our resources thinly anyway. We actually might get more if we concentrate on a smaller area.
3 days ago
It is possible that one is not defined by the work they do or their carrier choice though I will be honest that it is going to take some time to gain confidence and feel that with the lifestyle I have chosen, I am just as valuable as anyone else. Celebrating my sister's birthday was a success and the experience showed it really is possible to live a balanced and quality life even if one choses an unconventional lifestyle.
The weekend went way beyond what we all had anticipated or imagined. I could'nt surprise my sister as we had hoped to, she ended up helping me to organise things. We had a photo shoot since she loves photos, we went to see rhinos and we did an impromptu virtual reality activity, which was such an adventure. We even had a small party with our family. Our other sister who travelled from where she works for this was more than impressed.

An interesting thing that happened was I broke an unopened wine bottle on the evening we had a party and I won a wine bottle the next day, when we went for the rhino encounter. I was so happy because I was later on told of the extra effort one of my sisters had put to buy the bottle that I had accidentally dropped. The birthday girl is very happy and for all of us, virtual reality was our highlight.
3 days ago
It didn't rain. When I got to the field instead of seeing how difficult things are getting, I chose to say that for every blow the weather hits me with, I will try again 10 fold. So I first replanted the bed with new seedlings, we didn't make it, the last ones got burnt and this time we made a thicker shade and it's suspended.
We also found out that there was no electricity, so we had to use the hand pump to draw water for the maize. I thought we are even lucky we have a well that's still giving us water, we are hearing that most wells are drying up. We pushed ourselves until my sister felt if we go any further she would find it had to walk back home. Mai Kumbi volunteered to help with the remaining area when power gets back.

I was happy because I need the next coming days to organise something for my sister's birthday and now that the maize had been watered and beds mulched we can break. When we got home things went south for me. I spent less than 10 minutes in the house and I got sick and sweating. I am kind of sure it's not what we ate, it's what we have been eating daily before going to the field.

I had to ask the birthday lady to go and pay for her cake, payment was due today. I am a little disappointed because I needed to prove that this alternative system has awarded me time to plan nice memories and this happens.

* A good accident happened. Before mulching the younger maize I had planted cow peas on a small area and then when the heat proved too much I mulched over the cow peas. They are popping up through the mulch and the germination rate is really good. I will be working on the cowpeas the next time I go to the plot.
1 week ago
Thank you Thom, I am glad it shows. It's such a strange coincidence, when I was checking the seedlings, it struck me how much work we had done this time around.  Kumbi and my sister were resting, hiding away from the sun and it was around 10 am. We had already turned the compost, weeded and mulched some beds and Kumbi had watered a few beds.
It's definitely not the money that they are getting that is making them put such effort, I believe it's the hope that the land is now giving. In the midst of sad things we mostly hear of, locally and across the globe, our small piece of land is finally giving hope and drawing positive energy from all of us which in turn has results that are now showing.
There were even so many worms than most years in the field when we were weeding in the maize holes and it was a wonder to me since it's been so so hot.
Having an external person validate our effort is very motivating.

I have just checked the weather it had indicated it would rain today, I checked agained today and things have changed, it's not raining today or any day this month. I really hope the prediction is wrong, I am not too sure if we can sustain all our crops. All I know is the break we thought we were going to have is farther than we had thought. We finished the raised bed mulching today. We now have to start watering the maize tomorrow even with the mulch, it's not looking good and I don't want us to get to a point of no return.
1 week ago
We have started working on the raised beds. We are starting with weeding beds with some life in them and we are using the remaining shells to mulch the beds. I soaked some chicken manure, so we will start feeding the beds weekly with the chicken tea. It's a lot easier to work on the soil in the beds because of the ridges.

We have a bed we tried planting new seedlings and covered it to protect them from direct sun, still some seedlings are being burnt.
1 week ago