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Script 75.2

Notes to broadcasters

The following script was adapted from an episode of ‘Mwana Alirenji’, a weekly farmerto- farmer radio magazine produced by Gladson Makowa of ‘The Story Workshop’ in Malawi. It is based on a real interview with a farmer, Mr. Justice Betha, and was originally broadcast in December 2001.The title, Mwana Alirenji is from the local language, Chichewa, and means that a parent is able to provide for all the child’s needs. The phrase is commonly used in Malawi to mean ‘self-sufficiency’ which is the goal of subsistence farmers throughout the world. The radio series promotes a new culture of self-reliance. The program offers listeners a number of ‘best practices’ and personal experience stories of other farmers. More information about The Story Workshop and Mwana Alirenji, is available at http://www.storyworkshop.org/magazine.html

This script describes to listeners a system of pits and trenches used by a Malawian farmer to harvest water. This script can be used in combination with script #1 in this package, Nature is never naked: The importance of mulch. Also, please refer to other Farm Radio Network scripts about water harvesting and irrigation.

Script

SIGNATURE TUNE

Narrator:
How are you farmers and listeners today? Today we are going to hear a program that comes to you from “The Story Workshop” in Blantyre, Malawi.

SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND THEN DOWN UNDER.

Narrator:
Today’s program is called “The river floods with water from the streams”. This traditional proverb means that each and every small action that we do in the future accumulates to a big thing whether bad or good. Our reporter is out in the field – looking for experiences that we may share. Where are you today my friend?

SOUNDS OF NATURE IN BACKGROUND.

Reporter:
We’re talking with Mr. Justice Betha at his home. Mr. Betha practices sustainable agriculture on his land. That’s one way to live a sustainable lifestyle. Welcome back to the program, Mr. Betha.

Interviewee:
Thank you.

Reporter:
There are rumours going around, Mr. Betha, saying that you can harvest water. What can you tell us about this?

Interviewee:
Yes, that’s true. I believe that the rain that falls in my garden is for my garden. And the rain that falls in this area is for this area.

Reporter:
But, what does this mean…in practice?

Interviewee:
We make sure that we harvest each and every drop of water, starting from my house. For example, we use all dirty water from the kitchen to water our plants.

Reporter:
Yes, and I see over there that you seem to be catching water from your roof.

Interviewee:
Yes, the water runs off the roof into a trench.

Reporter:
But where is the water in the trench going to?

Interviewee:
Come over and see…

SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS.

Interviewee:
As you can see, the trench leads to some pits.

SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS.

Interviewee:
Over here you can see the pits that are dug behind my house. The water in the pits is used to water the bananas.

Reporter:
Could you describe for our listeners how your pits look? And how the system works?

Interviewee:
When the first rains come, the water is collected from the roof and goes into a trench. Then it is directed into a series of pits dug down the slope. The pits are in between the banana plants.

Reporter:
So the water is going to feed these bananas.

Interviewee:
Yes. Usually bananas do not grow here in the upland because they need a lot of water. But we do have bananas throughout the year here, because we harvest water.

Reporter:
Mr. Justice, I have seen that in the small pits you have put in some grass. Why is this?

Interviewee:
We put grass in the pit beds so more water seeps into the soil. I can also add manure, weeds and other organic materials. This improves soil fertility for the banana roots. Once the water has filled these pits around the bananas, then the rest goes to the storage pit.

Reporter:
Could you describe your storage pit?

Interviewee:
I dug a pit that is four metres long and three metres wide. It is one and a half metres deep.

Reporter:
Let’s review your whole system. The water runs from your roof into a trench. Then the trench branches out into small pits that are surrounded by bananas. The pits provide water for the bananas.

Interviewee:
Yes. This is how it works. For me, I like to harvest every drop of water that falls in my garden. This system allows me to capture all the rain that falls on my garden and use it where it is most needed – to water my plants.

Reporter:
Mr. Justice, thank you for inviting us to your home and speaking to us about your water harvesting system.

TRADITIONAL MUSIC TO END.

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by Gladson Makowa, Radio Producer, The Story Workshop, Blantyre, Malawi.
  • Reviewed by Anna Brazier, Environmental Consultant & Specialist in Sustainable Resource Management, Harare, Zimbabwe.