We are happy to report back on our community project with the nearby Mpisi School that we work with at HERD Trust. We have continued with the Nutrition Programme at the school, seeing to the distribution of the Nkosi Super Bars to Grade R and Grade 1 students, to help supplement their food intake. We currently supply 171 children with one bar three times a week, helping to fill their little bodies with nutrition that is especially vital at this young age. The young learners are so keen when we arrive to offload the bars and to welcome us with smiles and waves. The teachers at the school send us photo updates of the children enjoying the bars during class, making us happy to know that the kids are enjoying this not just essential but also tasty nutritional boost.
In addition to this, we have been working in the school vegetable garden. Our team have been busy with cleaning up and maintaining the gardens and planting seedlings. The types of vegetables planted included 440 okra seedlings, donated by Benico Farms in Acornhoek, watermelon which was planted in the central tyres, and mielies which were planted in the smaller tyres.
Collecting the donation of okra seeds, we were also given a tour of Benico Farms in Acornhoek by Bennedictor who is managing the farm. He assists lodges in growing fresh produce and is also involved in beekeeping, with a few hives on the farm to do his bit to help save this important species. It was refreshing to meet a gentleman who has such vision and is doing everything he can not only for his community but for tourism and conservation.
We gave Bennedictor a few bags of our home-made elephant dung compost to show him what we make from the dung which is removed from the stables on a daily basis. We suggested he try some in his farming to assist in enriching the soil. We were excited by this new partnership and welcomed Bennedictor to our reserve the following wee so he could see how we make the elephant dung compost. We will continue working together with Benico Farms on a barter basis, exchanging compost for seedlings and fruit trees for our community projects.
The trees we planted at Mpisi School are doing well and are being well looked after. These were donated by the Perfect World Foundation and include Huilboerboonboom, Cheeswood, Huilboom, and Bruin Ivoor trees. We are watching over them closely and working with Mpisi School to care for the trees so that they can grow big and strong to provide life for animals, shade from the hot African sun, give off vital oxygen, supply birds with a home and protection and food for elephants and other wildlife, preserve the soil, and so much more…
The school principal has requested additional fruit trees and an additional garden to be planted so we will be sourcing trees for this area and assisting in the planting of the next vegetable garden in the coming months.
The Lessons in Conservation initiative will be visiting the school at the end of April 2023, to share some important lessons about the need for conservation with 20 Grade 7 learners. The goal is to help reiterate the importance of elephants and conservation in general – so that the learners will learn more about their environment and take these lessons home to their families and parents to spread the knowledge.
We will be visiting Mpisi School again after the April holidays.
Thank you to everyone who has given us support for the school initiative, helping to build strong little learners who will become our next generation of conservation custodians.