Since I arrived on December 27, 2020. There has been tremendous changes and improvement in the development of the Mwizenge Sustainable Model Village. The Western edge of the village has an arrival-caretaker, small, rectangular, 3-room house with iron roofing. Right in front of the house is 10 acres of farm field. The model village is located a mile walk east of the caretaker house.
Mr. Vincent Tembo supervised the construction of village structures which will be a continuous feature as new huts and residents move in and out of the village depending on the season and personal individual events during the year. My hut was built in record time between November 2020 and the first week of January 2021. On my day of arrival from the lodge in Lusaka, the residents had built my temporary toilet starting early in the morning at 6:00 hours and completed it by 17:00 hours. The permanent toilet is being dug and built as you read this. Two huts did not have proper wooden doors. Mr. Kalaba, our resident bricklayer and carpenter, installed the doors to the two huts this week. The residents involved in construction were Mrs. Fanny Nya Mwaza, Mr. Vincent Tembo, Mr. Kalaba, Mr. Silungwe, Steve, and Emannuel.
There are about 10 acres of farm fields this year. This is the first time in 3 years that the village is doing everything right to grow crops for residents’ consumption. The maize was planted in November while applying D-Compound fertilizer at the same time. During mid-January the maize was sprayed for a serious army worms infestation. Then Urea and D-Compound fertilizer were applied to the whole field. The maize is now flowering with mphunga and it all looks very deep green. We expect a good harvest of maize or corn. Other crops that have been planted are peanuts, red kidney beans, sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkins, and majungu.
Village Resident Life
Village resident life has a routine. We wake up early in the morning between 6:30 to 7:00 am, see and greet each other wishing each other good morning. Everyone starts with their designated work for the day. Breakfast is later in the morning. All residents cook for themselves in their hut household which has a kitchen outside.
The village work has now tended to include tilling and weeding on the farm field and construction of some structures. For example, the caretaker roof was repaired yesterday. It had been leaking during these heavy rains. The village surroundings of the huts have rapid weed growth. Residents have spent some days slashing grass and using hoes to remove the grass. Evenings are spent laughing and chatting by the fire after dinner.
What is urgently needed is entertainment for the residents. The young men are restless on their day off on Sunday. They walk 6 kms to the main road shops at Mwacilele. There are a couple shops there and at least 6 small bars.
Late on Saturday, February 6, as the residents completed their Saturday work schedule, I casually asked them if they wanted to attend some prayer service. They surprised me when they said enthusiastically they would attend. The nearest church, a Catholic congregation, was 6 kms away. They could not manage to walk that far. When would be the right time they would attend a church service at our model village? They surprised me when they said 8:00 am which I thought would be too early. I told them I had never done this before. I would provide and preside over the service. I told them I have an English Bible and I have “Nyimbo Za Mulungu” Hymnal which is from the old Dutch Reformed Church in Zambia from the 1950s and '60s.
I did not have time to prepare for the service. I woke up at 6:00 am on Sunday. I browsed through the Bible and some old sermons from my previous church attendances. It was a no-brainer for me. The Mwizenge Sustainable Model Village residents live within the natural wilderness which God created. I drew up the program which includes hymns Number 40 and No. 2.
The sermon was from Genesis 1 Verses 1 to 31. I first read 16 verses and then translated them into Nyanja and Tumbuka. What I learned from the experience is that our village residents craved a spiritual experience. This may be common for all humans. Our village will have a service next Sunday. I have the whole week to prepare for that service.