At Malayaka House, we strongly believe that we should use our natural resources to improve the environment, become independent from the unreliable grid of water and electricity, and reduce our overall expenses.
In accordance with these beliefs, we have installed solar panels and batteries in our compound. They generate enough energy to cover all electricity needs, with the exception of our washing machines. In turn, Malayaka House has become more energy-independent. Power outages are no longer a daily headache, we have improved the security of our children by using security lights all night, and we are seeing significant cost savings with the dramatic reduction in our electricity bill.
We are saving money in water costs and have become more independent by improving our rain-water collection system. Rain gutters installed onto every roof funnel together into a large underground tank that holds 6,500 gallons of water. This is called water harvesting, and it means we no longer have to depend on the unreliable, expensive city water. Reliable access to fresh water is necessary for everyone on earth, but when you are housing, bathing, and feeding 50 people every day, and washing dishes and clothes for that same number, the water needs are immense. In addition to the large tank for the entire house, we were able to install a smaller, 400 gallon tank near the Auntie’s kitchen. This is also were our small farm is located.
Food costs are, without a doubt, our biggest expense. Feeding more than 50 people on a daily basis comes with a hefty price tag. In our efforts to reduce operational expenses, and to become financially sustainable, growing and raising our own food has been a big priority for several years now.
In 2013, we acquired a piece of land for the purpose of developing our own organic permaculture farm system and fish hatchery. The property is in an area called Kigungu (pronounced Chigoongoo), and the fertile land sits along the shore of Lake Victoria. Developing this land into the farm it is today was far from an overnight process. A lot of time, effort, and cost went into this project, but we are finally seeing the results…and they are amazing!
Our kids are now able to bathe in hot water (something they’ve never been able to do), and we can use hot water for cleaning dishes and washing clothes. This is especially good news as we begin to welcome new babies to Malayaka House.