Journal Entry: MGRC Visitor, Happy Cows, ecoFarm Updates
It was a very good week for us at MGRC. One of our girl’s sponsors visited us during the week. It is always great to have the girls meet and spend time with the people who make it possible for them to live here. The sponsored girl is not the only one who benefits, all the girls enjoy and get to participate in the festivities. The girl’s sponsor took her child and three other girls to Ngorongoro National park – a very special treat for them! The next day was a big celebration with plenty of balloons, food, cakes (yes, multiple cakes – yum!) and games for everyone. The girls loved singing hello but were a bit sad to sing goodbye. We are all looking forward to her next visit, hopefully in December.
The contractor finished up his work on the buildings and addressed the typical issues at the ecoFarm. Now the actual farm work begins. Meanwhile, Elisante and I went to Arusha to pick up our new-to-us 2018 Toyota van with only 38,000 km, a rarity in Tanzania. We moved the cows from their temporary lodging which has been provided by a friend, to their new permanent home on our ecoFarm. It was a blessing to have a secure place to keep them until our barn was in good enough condition to house them. The cows have settled in and have been producing over 45 liters a day, that’s up 5 liters from their temporary site. Happy cows!
Elisante and I have been meeting our neighbors and making new friends. One neighbor has a maize farm and promised us we could buy his maize stock in July. The cows eat this for their dry fodder – we supplement grain and minerals to keep them healthy.
Starting this week, we are planting elephant grass and sweet potatoes to be used for fodder and breakfast. The greens from the potatoes are a nutrient-dense food for dairy cows and our girls love to eat the potatoes – it’s a breakfast staple for Africans. However, these sweet potatoes are not the same kind you and I are used to, they taste more like a rustic potato. Addtionally, we will be building a hydroponics fodder system for growing barley and wheat. This has been something I have been researching for quite some time. It should lower our feed costs while increasing the cows milk production – due to better nutrition.