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Postcard from Kenya: "I don't know what we will eat tonight"

25 April 2013

Postcard from Kenya:

By Rachel Beckett

A few weeks ago I returned to central Kenya’s Kitui district – an area blighted by extreme poverty and frequent droughts. It was there, in early June last year whilst the rest of the UK was celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee, that I met Willi and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a member of the Muuwo farmers’ group, who at that point were hoping to be selected to be part of a new Farm Africa project being established in the area.

We had had a busy day bumping along dusty tracks and down dried-up river beds, and it was late afternoon when I interviewed the family and heard their story.

Elizabeth and Willi showed me around their plot of land – the crops, a few livestock, their mud home and small mud shelter which they used as a kitchen. It was whilst we in the kitchen that I asked Elizabeth what the family were having for dinner.

She replied: “I don’t know what we will eat tonight.” Hearing her say this was heart wrenching, and knowing that the same conversation could be played out at almost any house in the village made the situation even harder to accept.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Muuwo Group WERE selected to join the project and their hard work and dedication to succeed were evident when I returned last month. Despair has been replaced with hope, and with the rains soon to arrive farmers are ready to plant high-quality seeds for drought-tolerant varieties of grains and pulses using new farming techniques they have learnt from Farm Africa.

Group of women dancingIt was a Tuesday when I returned, the day when Elizabeth and her fellow farmers meet to tend to their group vegetable farm together (we are working with them to build a well to provide the water they need to make it a real success). And as we approached down the hillside I could hear singing and see dancing – the sound of a community inspired and hopeful about their future. They had heard there was a visitor from Farm Africa and were singing and dancing to show their appreciation and thanks.

I left Willi and Elizabeth this time with a sense their life would improve and their children would be well fed. And with a knowledge that Farm Africa, together with our supporters, had made this happen.

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