Last Friday, I drove out to Kezi (which is a rural area about 1 hour out of Bulawayo) with a couple of mates to deliver 3400 broiler chicks as well as have a look at some projects that have been developed to help the local farmers. Jodi and I had been out there a few times when we were here last in 2008 and it is amazing to see how it has developed.
When we visited last, it was just a few small buildings that had recently been built for the students of Ebenezer College, a few garden beds that the students had cleared for planting vegetables and maize as well as a small chicken run. Now there are many more student huts as well as a large dining hall many more farming plots as well as two large chicken runs.
After counting all the chicks, Ezra (Ezra is part of the Beyond Belief initiative and works with the chicken farmers in and around Mablauwuni village) took me around Ebenezer showing me all the plots as well as the chickens that are just about ready to be collected for slaughter.
They have also started a chicken program with some of the local villages where they sell the family 1000 day old broiler chicks and spend time training how to look after the chicks so that they can sell them in 6 weeks time when they are ready to sent off for slaughter. This last round of chickens was a HUGE success where they have grown significantly faster (due to using sola lighting to light the chicken runs) and the death rate was significantly lower (about 1% – 2% instead of 4% – 6%). One of the most amazing things to hear about this project is the fact that the families will use a donkey drawn cart to take the 1000 chickens to the road which is about 10 km away at about 12am in the morning … now that is dedication.