Rehabilitation of an erosion gully

March 8, 2019 admin

Some exciting news about our work in Tanzania!
Work to rehabilitate one of the erosion gullies that pierce through farmland in Yam Makaa village has started.  We are doing it with a local collaborator Focus Mrema and his two fundis from Mombo below the Usambara mountains. Ndanu works with the Mombo fundis and we have also five helpers from the village.

The work starts by digging a place for a check-dam. The dams need to be embedded to the bottom and the sides of the gully very well so that water would not find its way around them.

This is how the gabion wires came from Dar es Salaam. They are made into ready boxes that will be filled by stones, but they are transported flat. Behind is a roll of filter cloth that is placed in-between of two lowest layers of gabions.

By surprise it rained the first night after excavations! Out of season rains. Rains should be due in April-May.

But they started filling the gabions nevertheless.

Stones are transported by a lorry.

Some of the stones are too big and they need to be hacked into smaller pieces.

Now two biggest dams are already completed.
  
  

Builders have been working from 7am to 7pm. It is 30 degrees in the shade. But these workers spend the day in direct sunlight inside a parching hot gully handling burning hot stones. They think that all the work will be completed by tomorrow evening.

It has been difficult to mobilise the farmers whose land the gully pierces as they live higher on the slopes of the mountain. So despite the promises made in November (when we had the initial community meeting there) only one farmer has come to help. He is a lawyer by education. But instead of farmers, village authorities, after some persuasion by Ndanu, pay the salaries of five helpers. So it is nice how the work become a collaborative effort with the local government.

There is also another significant volunteer involved. That is Ndanu’s wife Josephine who has been cooking meals to the fundis, breakfast tea, lunch and an evening meal every day. The Mombo fundis are also accommodated in Ndanu’s home.

All the farmland next to the highest two check-dams have also been terraced by fanya juu terraces (six fields), and only two plots lower down are still waiting to be terraced. We have already found a place where to obtain suitable grasses, Rhodes and Foxtail that farmers will plant on their terraces at the same time as they plant their maize and beans.

Thanks to Stats4SD and all of you for making this exciting work possible!

You can contribute to this work here: https://chuffed.org/project/liana-tanzania-land-and-water.

Best regards, Mama Liana