As we approach the Christmas season in Australia and our thoughts turn to family and food, this month we would like to introduce you to an intern at Tikondane (Tiko) in Zambia whose job is all about food. Ennie Chali is a cook, she works at VITAGOAT where foods for sale are prepared. These include ONENEPA, a nutritional supplement to combat malnutrition, peanut butter, jams, roasted peanuts and rabbits.

Ennie has been appointed the manager of Tiko’s production unit, and she is also knowledgeable about the products in the craft shop, as well as educational aids. She is well on her way to becoming their major sales person. Ennie is also is Tiko’s DJ at parties or evenings with guests on the Tiko verandah. Wherever Ennie is, there is joking and laughter. And just you wait till there is dancing!

Like everyone at Tiko, Ennie has made a compost heap at home in preparation for a bag garden in which to grow vegetables. However, the neighbour’s chickens are a big problem – chickens are a problem also for Tiko. Even with big fences and with their wings cut it would be impossible to keep the many crafty chickens away from crops at Tiko. Ennie’s problem is smaller and more manageable: she would need to have a fence around her Moringa tree and her two bag gardens to supply her vegetables. A long-lasting bamboo fence costs about K700 or $70.  With a fence, Ennie’s family would be less hungry during the famine that will come before the next harvest.

There was a disastrous harvest last season because of drought, so the yield from the fields lasted even fewer months than normal. There is always famine before the next harvest in Katete, and in fact, Katete people are among those with the worst malnutrition in the world. While Ennie is preparing to cope better with the challenge, Tiko is distributing about half of the maize meal needed for the staple food nsima. Tiko is also helping to supply seeds for a variety of crops, including cowpeas that provide protein.

The stipend RoundTrIp provides Ennie for completing her internship goes a long way for her and her family in keeping food on the table. As the annual hunger season approaches it will become even more valuable as the local community battles starvation. It is only the generosity of our donors which makes such a stipend possible.

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