Half full – half empty

4 02 2010

Jeremy is an ex-commercial farmer who works for a German NGO. Rather late last year he asked me if we could grow gum trees, some for him and a much larger amount for the NGO to give out to be grown near dip tanks in the rural areas to take the pressure off the indigenous trees being cut for fuel. It was late to plant trees but I did not mind; it was a nice order and we needed the work. Jeremy was very pleased with the seedlings when he came to start organizing their collection and distribution. I got chatting to him about the rest of his work. They (the NGO) give out treadle pumps and they can be used to irrigate up to a hectare of crops. Jeremy was enthusiastic on how well it was all going and was keen for us to start supplying vegetable seedlings for the NGO to distribute as giving out seed was a bit hit and miss as to whether the crops got growing. He was talking big figures and I started to be quite hopeful. The glass was definitely half full.

I have met Bill before and like Jeremy he too is an ex-commercial farmer and also works for the same NGO. He came to organize the collection of gum trees to go to the Makoni area which is in the central east of the country. I asked him how it was all going. Dismally apparently. He said that no-one was really interested in watering the trees through the dry season (and we are already having a dry wet season) so most would likely die as had the numerous trees that had gone before them. What was more the kopjes (stony hills) in the area were being devastated by the tobacco farmers cutting trees to use as fuel to cure their tobacco. He couldn’t wait for September when his contract finished. For him the glass was half empty and the level falling fast! I decided not to put too much hope in Jeremy’s entusiasm.

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