Even as a club, making a heap of compost and manure like this is tiring, especially during nthawi ya njala (that is, time of hunger: the colloquial name for the months of January-March). Caloric intake is down, but so are traditional work loads; cultivation is finished, harvesting is pending, and there's little to do on the farms, traditionally. But modern farming, sustainable farming, is a year round endeavor.
The farmers get tired but just when they seem to be giving up, we start talking about what this pile of animal droppings is worth in fertilizer equivalent. First we ask the farmer's what they would charge for this work if they were hired piece workers on someone's farm. The job usually ticks in at about K4,000-K5,000 kwacha. Then we explain that this heap of manure will yield roughly 1 metric ton of compost, enough to supply the nutrients required to grow one quarter acre of corn. Corn, as we all know, requires 200kg of inorganic fertilizer per acre, or 50kg per quarter acre, which costs about K15,000. Thus, the fertilizer equivalent of the compost costs three times more than they would charge for the labour to prepare the compost.