A year ago hardly anyone in LungaLunga and Nikumbuke had heard about Moringa trees.
Now they are growing in over 325 plots and shambas in almost all villages belonging to Nikumbuke.
”Now people are eating a more balanced diet and get more nutrition from the healthy Moringa leaves and seeds”, Bendettah says.
A Moringa tree grows fast and can reach a hight of over three meters in just a year. In full growth the tree can be up to six meters high.
Most parts of the tree – from the strong seeds to the bitter leaves – can be eaten. And everything from the tree gives more nourishment, like vitamins and minerals, than most other eatable plants.
Therefore it is called the miracle tree, not only because of its nutrients but also because the tree grows so fast and can do so in heat and dryness.
Moringa trees were introduced to the women in Nikumbuke by the American group from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, a regular sponsor that visited Nikumbuke last summer.
They bought plants and taught the women how to grow the tree and take care of seeds and leaves. They also bought a grinding machine. The women´s group of LungaLunga bought a plot of land to put the machine on and grow the trees.
The machine is operated six days a week by a man who is employed by the women´s group. It is also used to grind maize.
Now the women come from all the villages to LungaLunga to grind their leaves.
”But I wish we can buy more machines in the different villages, so the women don’t have to walk so far”, Bendettah says.
The popularity of the tree has grown fast and Bendettah has not only trained people in Nikumbuke, but also all the leaders within the community.
So far most of the harvest is used by the women themselves and nothing is sold. But maybe in the future it can become a source of income both for the women and for Nikumbuke, who need to find more ways of income to become sustainable.