At last we can really focus on developing the Model Farm at Ban Xai. What has made the difference? Adequate water – sufficient to irrigate in the dry season. Our aim is 2 crops per year and together with the treated cow and pig dung to help build up the soil we should get good results.
The Pig Pen is ready for occupancy however MiVAC is working at involving the whole village in the Model Farm before we buy one pig. To be able to achieve ‘involving the whole village in all aspects of the Model Farm’ including cattle dung, pigs, biodigester, chickens, fish, market gardens and fruit trees it makes sense that a Lao or Hmong run the Model Farm.
MiVAC has appointed Moua. Moua will take direction from John Salter and Yang and will work cooperatively with the village of Greater Ban Xai. In Moua’s absence there will be another Lau living in the MiVAC building. Peter and Anita Perry will be staying on the site where the previous site supervisors have stayed and will be resident volunteers with a whole heap of tasks. Always volunteers will be able to suggest to Moua something to do with developing the garden, the pigs or the biodigester. Of course all volunteers have access to John Salter any time.
There are still areas of new development to be undertaken (for example fish and chickens) so there is considerable scope to assist the farm (and the villagers). Whilst the next few weeks will be occupied with negotiations with the village in Ban Xai volunteers from Australia (or anywhere for that matter) can look at roles they would like to be involved in (instead of as Site Supervisors). For specialist advisors 5 days would be a reasonable time span. For other volunteers 1 – 4 weeks is adequate. Here are some ideas:
1. Animal husbandry
4. Agricultural – soil improvement
5. Market Gardening
7. All aspects to do with Drainage – particularly for the wet season
8. Planning aspects (drawing, bill of materials, costing) for new village tasks
9. Detailed planning for other tasks in Ban Xai – Pong Hor school, HMP school, Ban Xai school, Dormitory (hopefully on school grounds)
10. Tourism – this is a big deal – UXO and Minefield Story and display, MiVAC Story and display, posters, videos, and anything that can be done with selling items eg handicrafts, drawings, loom/silk products, MiVAC shirts, history described in drawings, a brochure
11. Primary Teachers – including English (MiVAC would seek the necessary authority)
12. Medical profession – (MiVAC would seek the necessary authority)
13. Water Crossing design, costing, construction
14. If you don’t fall in any of these categories and want to give your voluntary labour MiVAC will try to find a place – even if you are on the end of a shovel.