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Meeting with other communities

Yesterday we met with a delegation of people from Xolobeni and Mzamba who form part of the "Innovation Programme". They are investigating sustainable development projects to implement around Xolobeni, to prove that the area is self-sustainable; and came to see our Mussel Rehabilitation Project and the Food & Nutritional programme in action.

We started off to Nqutheni (our largest rehabilitation site to date) at about 10.30am, to make it there for low tide at 11'ish. Despite 6m to 8m waves that blew in with the gale from the day before, the site was still fully accessible, and we managed to get a full view of the mussel coverage on the rocks at East Nqutheni, and "rooting" baby mussels in the irrigation pipes - which are cable-tied down to eyebolts drilled into the rocks - on the West.

From there we went to see the Kham community garden. There were a half dozen women harvesting cabbages, and a couple of children playing in the garden, and quite a fruitful (vegetable) dialog between the communities ensued. We don't really have a viable market for the produce yet, but are hoping to get a vehicle for the co-op soon. It should then be possible to co-ordinate the community gardens and home growers to plant and reap particular cash-crops so significant quantities can be transported to Mqanduli and Mthatha for sale.

(Update: The co-op certificate eventually arrived, and so we have now submitted an application to propagate and sell indigenous plants, trees and flowers through the nursery.)

We then went to Ocean View for lunch. Almost everyone ordered fish and chips, and all had a thoroughly good meal. Actually it's a bargain, really, compared to city prices, and considering the view.

After lingering over the meal we had to rush to get to the nursery before they closed. Good for business! The nursery sold many trays (200 seedlngs per tray) of spinach and spring onion to our friends, who I take it were convinced of the virtues of spring onion after chatting to the women of the Kham community.

After the nursery our official business was concluded and since the sun was still up and the wind had died down, we took a trip to visit the Hole in the Wall. The waves were dramatic, the tide was very high, and the sunset was spectacular.

Here's wishing every success to the Innovation Programme from Xolobeni.

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