It has already been 2 weeks you heard from us so it is time for a new blog. In the meanwhile, we are quite well integrated into the project and the local culture. Our main goal still exists of a market research concerning the agricultural project and improving the record keeping of the kiosk and restaurant. Let’s take off with the market research.
In the last weeks we have done a lot of visits in order to get a good idea about the vegetable market in the Copperbelt region. These visits include a broad spectrum of places which range from small local markets to even the ministry of agriculture. In Ibenga and Luanshua, we learned that selling vegetables at the local market is a very insecure way of doing business since you are never 100 per cent sure of having good sales figures – indeed, prices vary and there are many local farmers who sell the same vegetables. That’s why we went to restaurants and supermarkets to have a look into contracts with farmers (consistency and flexibility is key!) and we agreed on the fact that this is a more secure way of doing business. Next to that, we are in contact with a few bigger organizations like the ministry of agriculture and the farmer’s union to ask their advice on the way to go.
Second part of the project is about the record keeping of the kiosk and the restaurant. After having a look at the current, poorly done record keeping, and discussing the issue with the employees, we developed a simple system to monitor the daily sales and stock in a consistent way. We trained the employees of the kiosk and restaurant, the system is now being used for the first week. The staff reports to be happy with the system so far, however the learning process is still going on. We will do an inventory and evaluation at the end of this week and are planning to keep on following up the newly introduced system.
Furthermore, we experienced the culture intensively and it keeps surprising us! For instance, when visiting neighbors, markets or even big companies, everyone is very open and hospitable to us and eager to answer all our questions. When walking on the street, children make it a sport to join us in our walks and ask us quite often – with a little bit of shyness, you don’t see a Muzungu (white man) every day – how we are. And even today, Jannis and Bart had to slaughter their own chickens to have food for lunch. All days in Zambia are different which makes the total experience very intense.
In our time off, we went to church and visited Lake Kashiba with a minibus – usually overcrowded but we managed to use it as our own taxi. This weekend, we are planning to experience the night life in Zambia and to visit a park full of giraffes. As you see, there is no time to get bored.
Greets from a sunny Zambia!