Overnight, The Saudis decided to ignite a price war which was the catalyst for oil prices crashing, stock futures imploding, and bond yields going through the floor, as reported by Bloomberg, Sunday, March 8, 2020. This was on top of last weeks dramatic drop in interest rates as exemplified by the 10-year Treasury yield dropping below 0.5% for the first time and 30-day Libor collapsing to below 1%, I was traveling last week to a place that I would venture to guess that 99% of the people knew nothing about this nor had any interest in it (pun intended).
I was in Zambia to honor Roneet.
To get to Zambia I flew from Dubai to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This photo shows me at the Addis Ababa Bole International airport during my layover and the precautions I took to lessen the chances of getting the coronavirus. Yes, I know that medical experts say that masks are not very effective at preventing one from getting the virus and they should be saved for those who really need them, but I have to admit it felt good wearing it because it felt like I was taking constructive action to avoid it.
A little over a year ago I was introduced to the head of an Israeli Non-Government Organization (NGO) that has focused on helping small farmers in Nepal to transition from subsistence to self-sufficiency. The NGO’s work there had proven to be successful and they set their sights on Zambia to take their model and approach there to see if it could work in Sub-Saharan Africa. Like my other contributions in Roneet’s honor, I was inspired to invest in causes that I believed could impact people in very positive ways, they were run by deeply committed and capable people, and they would honor Roneet for years to come.
Roneet Carmell Agricultural Training Center – Zambia
The investment I made in the organization was to help fund the development of an agricultural training center in Zambia that would serve a number of villages to bring subsistence farmers together to show them a vision of what can be when it comes to their small farms and to learn new practices to dramatically improve their productivity so that they can alleviate their food insecurity. There is so much more to the program and its comprehensive approach to trying to achieve its goals that I hope to address in a future blog post as my experience there was fascinating, inspiring, and one that left me hopeful that the work being done there can be tremendously impactful. For now, however, I will share some photos to capture some of the most powerful images. As an aside, prior to arriving in Zambia, I spent a couple of days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that was quite interesting as well and another trip worthy of a blog post.
The first two pictures show the sign honoring Roneet at the newly unveiled Roneet Carmell Agricultural Training Center. I’m with the founder of the NGO, Micha Odenheimer, while the second picture shows the head of the program in Zambia speaking to the local villagers who attended the grand opening ceremony.
The NGO employs a Zambian agronomist to help local farmers better understand more modern farming techniques and, ultimately, the importance of being able to learn about what the demand is for various agricultural products so they can adjust their production to provide what is in highest demand.
This individual, Mr. Bright, is the agronomist and he is presenting to the villagers.
The Future of Zambia – Their Children
The rest of the pictures are all of the children who I found so endearing and found their way into my heart. The next three include a boy who followed me around and I found it to be so captivating.
When other kids saw their peers taking a picture with me, they didn’t want to be left out. Apparently FOMO is alive and well in Zambia too.
Here is my new friend saying goodbye as we drove off.
The tooth fairy probably had a field day with this one.
I love the juxtaposition of these two boys. The first one is older and very much awake while the second is younger and sleeping soundly in spite of everything going on around him.
You have to love the attitude these girls have.
I’m rather proud of this shot that I caught naturally. They were not posing.
This girl has the X factor. She has it going on and she knows it!
Here I am taking a group shot with my young posse.
I left Zambia with a great attachment to the people. They are so joyful and warm despite very trying circumstances. The children will always be deeply embedded in my memory as spending time with them was a tremendously uplifting experience.
I love knowing that Roneet will always be associated with a community of such happy and joyful people that have the potential for their lives to change quite significantly in the years ahead because of what they can learn and observe at the Roneet Carmell Agricultural Training Center.
I also left there seeing the power of combining highly motivated local farmers with capital, technology, and a committed local team to bring these inputs together in ways that can lead to dramatically improved outcomes and leading to the transition from subsistence to sustainability. I am looking forward to returning to see what I expect to be great progress in the lives of these people in the years to come.
Next week I intend to share about my visit to Victoria Falls, which I went to after Lusaka and the villages pictured in this blog. Stay tuned – it was quite spectacular.