March 2018 brought with it rain, fellowship, and a long hike. Four LAND Project affiliates made the arduous trek from Elliot to Manzimdaka, counting potholes as they traversed the dirt road. This trip marked the sixth consecutive year that LAND Project team members from the United States and elsewhere in South Africa have visited the rural village Manzimdaka at least once or more. Michael Bell, Jules Reynolds, Valerie Stull, and Asanda Apleni were eager to reconnect with old friends, check in on LAND Project initiatives, learn more about the community, gather data on invasive species in the ares, and take local farmers on a Field Trip to Mceula.
The first objective of the trip was a community-based workshop on managed grazing (in advance of the field trip), insect agriculture for chicken feed, and black wattle management. The workshop was participatory and involved knowledge sharing in both directions.
Additionally, the team checked in on the school garden project by touring the grounds, meeting with stakeholders, and identifying needs. They held an art workshop with school children and met with community leaders.
The trip also included plenty of fellowship and an epic excursion to the top of a nearby mountain.