Water is precious, most especially so during Malawi's long dry season. At the farm we are fortunate enough to have a solar pump and a deep well that provides enough clean water for everyone living and working at the farm. It's what we use to water all of our gardens, to shower and to drink. In the villages this type of water source is not a reality.
Just down the hill in Landscape village there are thousands of people living with only one functional borehole. Each borehole is designed to provide water to a maximum of 250 people per day. The chronic water shortage has lead to people intentionally digging up the municipal water lines in order to provide water for their families. Standing waste water is also a hazard in rural communities as the dirty water can provide breeding ground for mosquitoes. Learning about effective water management and the ability to reuse as much water as possible is vital.
The new kitchen and intern tap just after install.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been building a demonstration banana circle to reuse water that drains from a newly installed tap outside the stables where I live. In the near future this tap is going to be used by the kitchen staff during the week, but it is also the go-to tap for the interns. The design for this banana circle is taking into consideration that it will have to handle a lot of run off water each day.
The holes for the bananas have been dug. Now the ditches that will direct the water have to be added. Water is being added to the holes to soften the dirt for digging.
The banana suckers planted in the banana circle under a thick layer of mulch.
The water diversion ditch has been added around the circle. The banana suckers have all been planted.
Once the circle was properly shaped and sloped there ended up being enough space to transplant 4 banana suckers, and a papaya tree at the center. The bananas had to be planted very deep because they like a lot of moisture. In between the trees we constructed additional raised planting beds for sweet potato cuttings, lemongrass, beans and arrowroot for the beautiful red flowers. Along the upper beds we planted loads of beans, sweet potato and cassava trees. In a few months this functional and beautiful garden that will provide food and beauty on waste water alone.