26 October 2010
Nyali Mushroom Project
The women of Galilea United Methodist Church here in Blantyre, Malawi, grew tired of not being able to contribute to church finances. So they decided to grow mushrooms.
Well, the decision wasn’t immediate. The women thought that maybe starting a small business would help them to generate some income and become more able to tithe regularly. They also hoped it would help them be able to attend women’s events and meetings that may not be in walking distance. So they considered many business options before finding a man three months ago who said he would show them how to grow mushrooms if they would buy his seeds.
So in Malawi’s hot temperatures, mushrooms thrive in the rainy season but not as much in the heat of today. So with a bit of construction help from the men of the church, the ladies built a small hut that could protect the mushrooms from the sun and heat. They keep the hut wet and cool. It’s really quite amazing.
Then they take maize stalks and chop them into tiny bits to use as fertilizer. They place the maize stalks chips into plastic bags with the mushroom seeds and tie them to wooden sticks that hang in the shed. And, voila! Mushrooms soon pop out of the bags.
Apparently, these mushrooms are delicious (I think we’ll eat the bag I brought back with me tomorrow night at the Oliver house), so they have had no trouble selling them at all. In just three months, the ladies have started a little business and are already talking about growth. Plans are in place to build a second shed, double their mushroom production and maybe learn how to harvest seeds themselves so that they don’t have to keep buying them from the guy who first approached them.
I’m really inspired by their work and loved visiting the Nyali Mushroom Project today (Nyali means “lamp”). These women certainly are radiant and going to do amazing ministry with their proceeds. I’m excited to see it grow . . .