We have really felt The Hide Community Trust take off in its third year running. This year we have been focusing on REGENERATION, RENEWAL, GROWTH, and HOPE. We are so excited to see our grassroots foundations spreading slowly but surely as more and more people come together for something better.
Here are a few highlights over the year.
At the end of 2016, we held our first workshop on Conservation Agriculture – a whole new concept of farming for subsistence farmers who live on the outskirts of Hwange National Park. At the beginning, most thought we were crazy and carried on with their old ways of farming. Only two people adopted the concept and tried it out. At the end of the first season, their yields were higher than ever before! Word spread quickly and in no time at all we had a whole lot more farmers coming to us to learn these concepts. This year we now have 30 farmers who have been trained and are now training others in these concepts too!
First of all, we made top bar beehives and hung them around areas where trees where being destroyed by elephants around camp. The hives were filled with bees in days and are working so well that we then moved out to the communal land. We are now working with two farmers and have placed hives around their fields which act as a fence to protect their crops from hungry elephants! It is a known fact that elephants are terrified of bees and won’t go anywhere near them and this also means that the farmer gets to generate a further income from the sale of elephant friendly honey!
Bottle to Bead
We made kilns out of termite mound clay and spare car parts in order to make these beautiful glass beads. We are so thankful to Cedi who kindly visited us from Ghana to teach us this wonderful skill. Now we have two groups of very eager bead makers in the communities who each have very distinctive and beautiful styles.
It also means that we can recycle all of our glass bottles from the lodge as well – come and buy your beads from our shop at the Hide and know that each sip of wine you have now is going to a great cause!
World Environment Day
All six of the conservation clubs met at Chezhou Primary school to build this beautiful ‘Peace on Earth’ bench on world environment day. The bench is made out of plastic bottles stuffed with rubbish collected along the roadside for bricks and plastered with pressed earth that was squished together with lots of little toes!
We are so grateful to #softfootalliance for teaching us how to make these BEAUTIFUL rocket stoves! Being able to make these efficient stoves out of locally sourced materials means that significantly less wood is now needed to cook with, only a handful of sticks are needed to cook a meal, and unlike open fires that people usually use to cook on there is much less smoke with the rocket stoves meaning less respiratory diseases in children inhaling smoke! They can also be used to help generate an income by selling them on to neighboring communities too! All in all, we are thrilled!
During this year’s National tree planting week, we celebrated by having two great tree planting sessions. On the first day, we gave each member of our conservation farming group a range of indigenous trees with medicinal properties as well as a few fruit trees to plant in their homesteads. Each of these trees were propagated in our tree nursery at The Hide. We also held a tree planting day at St Francis Primary school in collaboration with a few other NGO organizations along with all the conservation clubs from 6 surrounding primary schools.The theme for the day was ‘Fruit Trees for Food Security and Nutrition‘. The children created a beautiful orchard by planting 100 different fruit trees. On top of this, a further 200 fruit trees were distributed between all 6 schools to plant on their school grounds as well.
Pack for a Purpose
We are so grateful to all our kind guests who brought these amazing supplies from all over the world via our Pack for a Purpose link. We keep these all until the end of the year so that we can hand them out at prize giving and to schools in need so that they can begin their year with a good start.
Prize giving in Zimbabwe is different to most other schools around the world. Education is taken so seriously that when a child wins a prize, the whole family runs up, cheers with the child and carries them forward to receive their prize!
Last of all, We would like to say a very big THANK YOU to all of our wonderful friends of The Hide who have supported us so graciously. We are truly grateful for it all!