Time flies! We have been here for three weeks already. We’ve actually only just got here, but it feels like we’ve been here for months. We have done and experienced so many things! And well, where do you start writing…
Over the past week we have been busy with the tunnel project. Because we first mainly looked around, we got a good idea of the entire project and this week we were able to start making plans for the coming months.
The tunnel project has now been in existence for about 18 months. 60 tunnels have now been set up, spread across the Malangeni ‘working area’. As we already wrote, rich and poor, Westerners and dark-skinned Africans really live in separate areas here. Malangeni is such a poor area where almost only dark people live. Each tunnel has an owner, in most cases a woman. Charibiz is here to help these people do their job the best they can and bring them the Kingdom. When it is time to harvest, the tunnel holders ensure that the harvest is ready, so that Charibiz can pick it up and sell it to local supermarkets, for example. This selling often still causes problems. Sometimes the supermarkets don’t need anything and even more often they buy something, but it is sold for far too low a price. Well, you can’t leave fresh vegetables for a few days, so they have to be sold for far too low a price. Because we are still quite small, the supermarket determines the price, as it were…
However, last Tuesday we had very good news regarding the purchase of all vegetables. The local hospital wants to buy all vegetables from us as standard. This amounts to about 1500 kilos per week! This also gives room for growth. A few days ago we received the price list of what they want to pay for all products and this also looks good! We now sell a bunch of spinach for 2 or 3 rand, soon it will be sold for 5 rand! For the first 18 months, Simon and Renskje, together with other short-termers, were busy installing the tunnels and starting production. When we hear the stories, this cost blood, sweat and tears. We succeeded and almost all tunnel holders are now able to grow and supply vegetables. And how! When we deliver spinach to the supermarket, we can clearly see the difference between “our” forests and the spinach that comes from somewhere else. Now all processes must be structured and made as efficient as possible. The first thing we introduced this week is a simple system with receipts for purchases and sales. In this way we hope to prevent confusion about money. It happened to us namely this week that a woman believed that she had not received her money from a while ago. Sally (one of the part-timers within Charibiz) was quite sure that it had been paid, but to keep the peace and because these people could use it, we paid it out anyway… This just shouldn’t happen more often.
This week we will be optimizing the administration and creating a planting and harvest plan so that we will be ready for our major customer. In any case, we already notice that the project is having an impact. People earn their money, which is good for their self-esteem. We can serve them in this and help them move forward. Because people gain confidence in Charibiz, we have also been able to pray for a number of people. It’s great to work here like this and to be able to help people on all fronts!
Our first guest
We have now welcomed our first guest (Bjorn). (and was able to wave goodbye again :)) Bjorn came by for a few days after working in Botswana for three months. On his return trip he paid us a visit. Because he couldn’t swim for three months, we decided to go surfing one morning, very fun! Despite all the bruises, abrasions and muscle pain, we had a lot of fun doing it. We were doing pretty well and after a few hours we were even on the board…
In an hour we will take Simon and Renskje to the airport. So from this afternoon we will be completely alone. We still have to get used to the fact that we cannot easily visit friends and family. Fortunately, we have already met some nice people here. Of course we also email/skype/hype a lot with the Netherlands, so we stay informed about each other… very useful and above all fun!
As you can see, it has been possible to respond to our blogs for a few days now. Of course we would love it if you left a message! Unfortunately, our website is not completely ready yet. We hope to be able to put photos in our web album soon, so that you can get an idea of what we are doing. In addition, there are a number of functions that do not quite work, we hope they will be ready soon. But for now, just wait until everything is ready, you’ll hear from us!
See you soon!