The journey for WESM ICS volunteers continues! On the 4th of February, ICS volunteers visited Nasambe youth group and spoke with the Chairman, Isaac Chipululu. The purpose of the visit was to check up on the youth group after their involvement in a tea planting special project which took place with previous ICS volunteers in 2014. During the visit, Fwasani Mhango (National volunteer) asked a few key questions about the tea fields to investigate how successful the project was. The ICS volunteers were also very interested to see how the club had been getting on in general and if they needed any more specific areas of training. 

According to Nasmbe youth group, the tea field project has proved to be a success so far despite various challenges. In October 2014 the youth group launched the project by planting the donated PCII68 tea seedlings. Among the challenges, the weather has been the biggest obstacle for the group. In the hot season, some of the seedlings planted had trouble growing because the heat had dried them up. Despite efforts to replant some of these, unfortunately some were unable to survive. 

However, even though there have been challenges, the ICS volunteers were surprised and very happy with how well the youth group had done to maintain the tea and felt extremely honored to be revisiting a previous cycle’s special project. Brian Suliwa (group secretary) and Graciam Kolobowa (treasurer) informed the volunteers that they hope to start harvesting the tea in June 2015. 

Nsambe youth group stressed that they are especially thankful for the support already received by WESM and ICS. Chairman, Isaac Chipululu said: “I’m looking forward to working with the ICS volunteers and to learn from the team about different environmental issues.” He added “the volunteers will be able to help us overcome some of the challenges that we are facing.” 

The visit to Nasambe Youth Group ended on a very positive note; both ICS volunteers and youth group members joined together to celebrate the visit by taking part in the traditional common dance, ‘Sikili.’ As well as having a good day with the Youth Group, the ICS volunteers learnt a key lesson about how a successful ‘special project’ can benefit a community. The ICS volunteers will be working alongside the youth group for the next 6 weeks and hope to continue a successful partnership with them.

By Erin Gregory and Jessica Lameck