As part of the ‘My Hippo Story’ competition the manufacturers of Hippo Mills, ABC Hansen, asked Hippo hammer mill owners to share their stories of how Hippo had impacted their lives in terms of creating work and opportunities, not only for themselves, but their entire community or village.
They were also asked to nominate someone else who could benefit from owning a Hippo mill to help him or her reach personal goals and help the community around them.
Winner of the competition Christopher Chilenje, moved to South Africa from Malawi 21 years ago. Both his parents died in a car accident when he was young, and along with his three siblings he was taken in by their grandparents.
Shortly afterwards their grandfather also passed away and Christopher’s oldest brother, Daudi Chilenje, was forced to drop out of school and look after his siblings and grandmother.
When Christopher moved to South Africa he saved up and bought a Hippo hammer mill and sent it back to Malawi. Since then it has been used by the whole community as a toll mill.
“My Hippo Model 47 has enough capacity to service the whole community within a short time. Without such a machine, the community would be forced to grind maize by hand,” Christopher said.
When he saw the competition advertised, Christopher said he immediately though of a neighbouring community located where two rivers meet, and in the rainy season it is very difficult for the villagers to get across to the other side to mill their maize.
“With this donation of a Baby Hippo mill they can have access to maize meal all year round,” he added.
ABC Hansen recently celebrated its 90th anniversary at the annual Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg and the Baby Hippo Mill was presented to Luke Chilenje, Christopher’s youngest brother at the event.