Happas for the newly hatched fish.

A blessed and happy Christmas to each of you.  We are blessed to live in a country that is not at war as so many are experiencing throughout the world.  However, we have our own forms of violence.  In preparation for Christmas, we celebrate four weeks of Advent, which call us to be ready for the coming of the Prince of Peace.  During this time, perhaps we can be aware of the words of Father John Dear, “We seek to live in the conscious awareness of God’s loving presence and to share that disarming love with everyone.  We strive to become people of peace and to let that holy peace dwell within us and radiate from us so that the world will become more peaceful, more nonviolent.”  (Taken from “The Nonviolent Life”)

Many of you continue to ask about our fishponds.  In brief, I will just say we are making progress.  We emptied all our ponds and made major changes in them.  Last month, we purchased several thousand fry, tiny fish the size of a pinhead.  The fry live in happas or small containers placed in the ponds until they are large enough to survive in a large pond.

Presently, we are in the process of building a fish hatchery.  Our goal is to raise more and larger fish for sale to generate income for our work with the poor and to supply fish for the marketers, who must travel a long distance to purchase fish for their small businesses.  Because they have no refrigeration, fish must be dried.  Having fresh fish will increase their income.  Since fish are the main source of protein for the people, they are in great demand.

nano-farm-conference-roomIn January, Nano Integrated Farming Center opened at Nano Farm.  It contains a conference room, a three-bedroom house, a garage and a large kitchen.   This complex has multiple uses.  Since the garage is too small for our new Toyota pickup truck, it has been divided into two sections.  One is a laundry and the other provides space where we make our own fish and chicken feed.  In the conference room, we are conducting our own workshops as well as renting to others organizations.  This helps us generate income to pay some of our farm-related expenses.   In addition, we plan to use the conference room as a classroom for students to learn computer basics during their holiday time.  Last year the Zambian government required every high school to conduct computer classes.  The problem is that our schools in Kaoma cannot afford to purchase an adequate number of computers for their students.  As a consequence, most students fail this course.



Sister Virginia with the solar dryer.


Sister Brigit and Margaret with packaged dried food.

Our newest project at Nano Farm is solar drying of fruits and vegetables.  The large kitchen provides adequate room for preparing them for drying and packaging.  To date we have dried mango, papaya, banana, pumpkin, Chinese cabbage, rape, squash, sweet potato and eggplant, some of which we grow on the farm.

This process is all part of our Food Supplement program.  Income from the sale of the dried food will help us to purchase rice and peanuts that we will give once a week to those most in need.  The peanuts provide protein and delicious tasting rice.



compost-pit1Besides using cow manure for making compost for our gardens, we are now using the manure to produce biogas.  The manure is placed in this large pit that is covered.  The manure, mixed with water, is poured into the pit.  This mixture creates gas that is piped to a hot plate in our outdoor kitchen and also into the gas stove in the house. We are trying to