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Newsletter No. 3, May 2021

Dear friends,

We are growing used to our much-changed life at Tiko, but very much miss the pleasure we had in welcoming visitors from various parts of the world. We also miss sharing in their enjoyment of the welcomes they receive from people they meet in the villages. We have lost the income from the lodge and restaurant, at least until travel from abroad becomes possible again. In the meantime we have not been idle…

Dear friends,
We are growing used to our much-changed life at Tiko, but very much miss the pleasure we had in welcoming visitors from various parts of the world. We also miss sharing in their enjoyment of the welcomes they receive from people they meet in the villages. We have lost the income from the lodge and restaurant, at least until travel from abroad becomes possible again. In the meantime, we have not been idle as is shown below.


We had the first shot of ASTRA ZENECA vaccine in the morning on the 4th of May when the moment we heard that vaccination was possible some 20 members of Tiko went to St Francis Hospital. In the afternoon another 16 had their jab, and at the end of the week only three of our 75 were not vaccinated. – This is amazing as here vaccination hesitancy is overwhelming. Even our clever Indian pharmacist did not see that being safe from hospital and death from covid was far better than any side effects of the vaccination could be.

The three non-vaccinated members are Vera, our junior bookkeeper who is attending a distance course and whose family objects, a very traditional nightwatchman and, surprisingly, our accountant Abel Mponda. I cannot believe our luck, as the BBC said that only 120 000 people had been vaccinated in all of Africa. We will get our second shot on July 12, so will be even safer than we are now. We were doing our best to convince other people to accept it and talk about the advantages of the vaccination on the radio and wherever else we can, but supplies of the vaccine have run out.

Once again visitors and some bookings from volunteers

Our volunteers making sure that the refurbished rondavel is ready to welcome visitors.

We are happy to welcome visitors again, though we do request that potential visitors be vaccinated before they arrive. Already Stefan, a young man from Austria came for a short stay followed by Elise and Federico with two delightful little sons. Elisa works in Lusaka and was delighted to see the houses of the people in the village- she went along when a cooking pot was taken to Beatrice, as a lot of things had been stolen the night before. In the afternoon I walked with them to Tigris’ house, feeling proud of Tigris and how she manages, only to find that she, and Dinah and Dailess who live nearby, have neither a toilet nor a bathroom. I am happy to say that the visitors helped with Tigris’ problem right away. But we find that the heavy rains have caused damage to many other members of Tiko with the same effect.

Elise and Federico from Lusaka with their sons.

Two girls from the UK, who were here previously and taught in the school, want to come for 6-8 weeks in June and July and a young man wants to come for four weeks in September. They are with Workaway, a group that sends out powerful volunteers and expects the host to provide accommodation and meals. We got a deal with them for the guests to pay five Euros, so we do not miss out too much, but can expect real help. We need a lot of teaching and IT help. Quite regularly we have one-night local guests at half price, but the restaurant still has only one client: me! I have really put on weight while Tigris and the dogs profit a lot. But then I am telling myself that I am old enough and that, should we get paying guests again, I would easily lose the extra weight when worrying less.

Tiko Website

Christoph, who helps us in many ways and especially with crowdfunding campaigns, is now engaged in constructing a new website for Tiko. At present he is still working on the site, but it will be up and running very soon, please be patient and then visit it.
(Editorial Note: When it is finished, there will only be

Chickens – What could be more appropriate than Easter Chicks?

Alas it was not to be, as we found out to our cost. An electricity cut of 8 hours meant no chicks on Easter Saturday but taught us the valuable lesson that an even more reliable backup supply was essential to the success of the chicken rearing project. We had an inverter with two big batteries (and a security system because of that) but have now added a small generator.

First chicks “made by” Tiko

That was not the end, though, eventually, the secondhand incubator could not handle the cold and gave up. From a load of some 150 eggs, some 20 Black Australorps and 15 Kuroilers were hatched and are being reared by Tigris and Joyce. Nothing is wasted at Tiko though. The unhatched eggs are fed to the guard dogs, saving on the purchase of meat! In this photo, you can see our first day old chicks still in the new incubator, a day before they were due to hatch. Fortunately, we had been able to buy a good 1050-egg capacity incubator from a local man who had had it delivered only to find that although small, compact and highly automatic, it was too big for his requirements. We have sold all of these chicks and will sell, before inflation makes the money useless. Then we will keep the chicks for ourselves – if we manage to get that grant, we should have a few new chicken houses in addition to the three waiting ones.

Matheews and Alex, both new interns, putting our first load into the new incubator.
Unpacking the generator

Ablution Block

The ablution block was planned to serve overseas campers and also serves the two rooms in Sekelani House which are not ensuite and the dormitories. At times Tiko receives students who need accommodation as they are following courses at St. Francis Hospital. They stay in Sekelani house or the dormitory. We were lucky that the grant from Italian Donor Otto Pro Mille has also permitted us to provide this new facility for different types of guests.

Everyone is happy as the builder hands over the keys of the smart new shower building. The toilets are in the second building round the corner


This machine will produce maize bran that is an ingredient of ONENEPA and for chicken feed, and what is called ‘sample’ here. Sample can be eaten, but if taken to the mill once more, produces corn meal, from which to make the beloved nsima. The dehuller should have been used so that Tiko could provide hunger help to the crew of 75 families from December to April. However, the Chinese company that provides electricity, still has not managed to provide the necessary three- phase power
connection. Furthermore, to make chicken feed for our birds and for sale, Tiko needs a mixer and, even more than that, an oil-expeller for sunflower oil and soya oil, and ideally a machine to make soya chunks. We are going to visit a factory in Chipata, of a Zambian which produces these machines. We found out about it at a workshop from the Government, who are trying to start agricultural industry in the Eastern Province. Our grant application is yet due to be handed in – the responsible officer is trying, his best but is obviously very busy.


It has dawned on me that, while grants are welcome and, like the results of crowd funding campaigns, give us opportunity to do wonderful things, they don’t provide the 5000 we need every month for basic survival. What is more it has become clear that inflation is taking over and that we were lucky to invest in the chicken and the incubator when we did – the idea of buying at least one machine and the crops for making chicken feed for our chicken and for sale seems daunting, to say the least. With now 79 members of Tiko and their extended families their livelihood is in your hands. Please don’t give up on Tiko.

Yours ever Elke and the Crew

PS.We were looking forward to the time when it will no longer be necessary to check visitors entering Tiko, but once we had the incubator, we started a fence around the centre. Thus, part of Tiko has become a gated community, a concept I deeply loathe, but which has become absolutely necessary to keep our chickens and our future guests safe. Mind you, no guns in Katete nor even in the Eastern Province, even catapults are not used. Our nightwatchmen say ‘but they may hurt’ – the philosophy here is still enduring, we so hope you can come soon.

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