This is such a great trip, so much I want to share with you!
Just today I visited three farmers with Winnie, our Program Officer, and Evance, our Project Officer. During one of the visits, the husband, children — and poultry! — joined us. I always like meeting the families, seeing the children and how healthy they are, and talking to the husbands. It’s very interesting to hear their views about SANGO-Kenya and their wives’ participation.
Maybe it’s just luck, but so far, I haven’t met a single husband who isn’t very enthusiastic and doesn’t want to participate in some way. And today was no exception.
It takes a Team
“We are a team,” he told us. “When she came to ask what I thought about her joining, I told her that if it is positive and it is good for you, I support it.”
This is her first year in the program. She told us how much SANGO-Kenya has helped her whole family. Before the program, they sometimes missed meals. Since joining the program, that rarely happens.
Though she has been farming for a while, the only vegetables she used to grow were cowpeas (our black-eyed peas). Now, in addition to cowpeas, she is growing many traditional African greens such as African nightshade and amaranth, as well as cassava and sorghum. She has also done seed replication and grown enough to sell some as well as replant.
Prior to joining SANGO-Kenya, she thought preserving vegetables was just for the elderly. Now she has learned preserved vegetables are good for all ages. Her crops were so successful, she preserved enough cowpeas for her family to consume for two months!
They want to preserve even more next year. They are working with neighbors who grow cowpeas just for the seeds (peas); they want to get the leaves from them to preserve.
“Since my wife joined SANGO-Kenya, our crop yields are higher from the compost, we have more money because we don’t buy vegetables, and we are all healthier,” her husband proudly stated.
As we were talking, poultry were running in and out of the house — one even came in to lay an egg! Her husband told us they have raised a few poultry and sold them for a good price. He said that his wife told him about the improved methods for raising poultry she learned from SANGO-Kenya, so he began to put them into practice. For example, he started preparing local herbal vaccines and has already seen positive results — their chicks are staying healthier!
Having a structure to house poultry is essential to protect them against predators — and they have a lot where they live: wildcats, eagles, and a rather ferocious looking reptile called a monitor lizard.
They are currently keeping the poultry in a small building off the side of their house, but they are planning to increase the number of poultry and build a larger structure once they have saved enough money.
Another benefit from SANGO-Kenya has been the additional rainwater they have thanks to the gutters we gave as their gifts for completing the program. Before, when it rained, they couldn’t even fill a tank and had to buy water most days. Now, they can fill their tank and jerry cans. She is saving both time and money because she doesn’t have to fetch and buy water!
They are very excited about their future. They have already started planning: She has plans to lease land and plant more crops so she will have more surplus to sell; she plans to join a Saving and Loaning Group to help her save money; and they plan to expand their poultry.
We promised to check back next year when I come back, though we are all confident that they will do all that — and more! They’re a team!
Erokamano! Asante! Thank you!
With much gratitude from Kenya:
The SANGO-Kenya farmers, their families — and Winnie, Evance, Peter, Constance, and Kit
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