Maphumalanga

BBL PARTICIPANT: Betty Nnanya Manchidi, Mogaladi, Limpopo Province

In a Nutshell

Mrs Betty, Nnanya Manchidi lives in Mogaladi, on the border of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Through SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme she has added to her horticulture knowledge. She is currently struggling to grow fruit and vegetables because of a longstanding lack of water in her area.

She says…

Betty Nnanya Manchidi

I was the principal of Mama Gatlopi  Primary School in Mogaladi for twenty years. While I was in charge, we always had a food garden. The vegetables that came out of the school garden made for happy, healthy, energetic, bright children. We used our crops to supplement the dry goods (maize meal, soya, beans and so on) sent by the government school feeding scheme, and I am convinced that the children’s marks were better for that additional nutrition.

I retired 4 years ago and there is no longer a food garden which I think is sad. Not just because of the nutrition but also because of the educational potential of a garden. In my day, the children were always involved in those gardens. They loved to plant, water, and weed. Gardens are a great way to help children to develop patience and responsibility. For the little ones, it is a good way for them to understand the passing of time. For the bigger ones, they learn that hard work brings results. It sounds funny to say it, but they need to learn that eating food is not a passive state – it doesn’t start in a supermarket wrapped in plastic – there is hard work involved. Learning that working in a garden saves money, is the first step towards financial education. All that should be part of educating the next generation.

Even if the younger teachers wanted to start a new food garden, at the moment, it would be impossible for them to do so because our village has been without water for almost 3 months now. We haven’t been told the reason why and there is no indication of when it will come back. To be without water is very difficult in so many ways.

For those of us who are food gardeners, the lack of water has been very damaging to this season’s crops. The gardens are dry, dry, dry. There has been a bit of rain and some of us are lucky enough to have a JoJo tank, but the rain hasn’t been enough to keep the tanks full and an empty JoJo tank is nothing.

"Those new techniques made a big difference."

For those of us who are food gardeners, the lack of water has been very damaging to this season’s crops. The gardens are dry, dry, dry. There has been a bit of rain and some of us are lucky enough to have a JoJo tank, but the rain hasn’t been enough to keep the tanks full and an empty JoJo tank is nothing.

The water situation is doubly frustrating because about a year ago I did the SocioTech MyFood training, and the results were amazing. As I mentioned, I was already quite an experienced gardener, but I got many new insights into soil preparation, trenches, and mulching. Those new techniques made a big difference. The first season after we had the training was amazing. We had a huge crop of mielies.  Christmas was so abundant this year. And then this terrible disaster with the water stoppage.

I also did the MyFuture training. I am not new to business (I own a taxi) but I learnt a great deal about saving and goal setting. I have started to make changes, but I can see that very soon I will be able to implement a more ambitious and consistent saving plan. My youngest child will finish university this year – there are so many expenses related to books and transport and accommodation - and once that expense is completed, I can see that I will be able to save more consistently. My plan is to save for a borehole. It is expensive but I calculate that I could save enough in about 2 years to get that done. Next time this water cut-off comes, I want to be prepared.

 

etty Nnanya Manchidi
etty Nnanya Manchidi