Lab Coats and Chickens
On our Partnership Trips, we spend the vast majority of our time with the children at Hope Village. Their smiles and laughter and friendship are so very powerful and memorable. But, there’s another piece to the Spark story here in Zambia that we are overwhelmingly proud to share with our travelers.
On Friday, we said goodbye to our dear new friends in Ndola. And, after a drive to Lusaka (Zambia’s capital), we arrive at Hope Ventures, the poultry farm we jointly launched with our partner here over two years ago. This growing farm provides revenue to support the community programs we have spent the past four days immersed in. Ultimately, our goal is to build the business ventures here up to sufficiently support 100% of the costs to run Hope House, Hope Community School, and the biannual clinics that serve them.
The past year has seen incredible growth on the farm. From cycles of 2,500 chickens, we have jumped to 12,000 chickens. There are new facilities (a second chicken house, a feed storage room, and four units of staff housing). And, thanks to a contract with one of the largest poultry distributers in the country, we have directly joined the national supply chain. All of this has happened in the past year and it’s thrilling to imagine the continued advancement potential for 2014.
One final new development was the purchase of 10 white coats. The health of the chickens is a top priority as they represent an investment in the lives of the children back in Ndola. Visits to the farm are kept limited and upon arrival the bottom of our bus was sprayed with a special solution to minimize the risks of bringing anything harmful onto the property. We all donned white coats, to prevent transmission of dirt, dust, or germs we may have been carrying with us on our clothes. An important protection for the chickens, which also allowed for some great photo ops…
We also arrived with a silly gift for Charles, Director of Hope and the Farm Manager, Ba Bwalia. We think it’s the perfect hat to have on a poultry farm!
Today, we stick with the animal theme – we head off on safari in Botswana! Stay tuned for that and a few more photos and stories from our first few packed days with the kids that we haven’t yet had a chance to share on the blog.