Miloso 2024 – week one

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Our first week in Miloso. We arrive after a bumpy ride from the capital and in Mkushi we are met by Michael, Dennis and Julius. It is then another hour’s drive on even more bumpy and sometimes wet dirt roads, but once in Miloso we receive a warm welcome. It was very special to see everyone again❤️

The next day we immediately start the first part of the project. The solar panels are installed on the roof and the ladies immediately receive training in taking measurements and working with pattern sheets to make well-fitting clothing. To connect the solar panels for the sewing machines, we bought parts from Mkushi, the town nearby, but still an hour’s drive by 4×4. Solar-powered electricity is very welcome here because the hydropower plant has insufficient water to supply sufficient electricity. Every day there is no electricity from the grid for 8 hours.

In addition, we started working with the Buffalo bikes. We went to the bike shop in Masansa, also an hour’s drive but heading south. Here we got six new bikes and a lot of parts. The bicycles look beautiful and they are first provided with a large dollop of grease in the bearings before they are given to the new owners. Felix knows every part of the bicycle and is busy with replacing new parts on the bikes we bought in 2022. It is a lot of fun to help him Naijo and Dennis with the bikes.

A lot of work has already been done on the chicken farm. The foundation is already present when we arrive. Corné, Leroy and Marjon were taught bricklaying and after some practice it is going really well. In the afternoon it is too hot to lay bricks and we work on the bicycles in the shade of a beautiful Zambian tree 🚲

The electric sewing machines are widely used. The ladies from Miloso are very skilled at it. On Friday afternoon everyone had a skirt ready, which they showed off while singing and dancing. The women are very helpful to each other, if someone doesn’t know what to do, they sit together to discuss how to tackle it. The new building for the cooperative has turned out really beautiful, the name has changed, it is not Woman for Change because that name caused confusion at the Zambian Chamber of Commerce. It is now called: ‘Bwelelo Multipurpose Cooperative Love and Care’. Bwelelo means daily or forgiveness in Bemba, the local language. By changing the emphasis in the tone it gets a different meaning. Michael received the official document of registration with the Chamber of Commerce this week.

And then it’s time for weekend ! We bake pancakes on our stove. And in the morning we visit Noah’s Ark, a small nature park near Miloso with Antelopes, Zebras, Giraffes, Gemsboks, etc.🦓🦒

Tomorrow we will go to church with Michael, and on Monday we will start a new week full of fun plans! 🧱☀️🚲🌱