Time has flown by; the first five months of work in the farm have been full of learning. However, we have never lost sight of our goal: to train the Samburu communities in organic agriculture.
By the end of July we officially started the program denominated “Community Gardens in Samburu: Lodungokwe, Tuum and Barsaloi” materialized with the on-site execution of the first workshop about management of soil for the groups that are going to participate during the first instruction cycle, which lasts a total of 18 months.
From the moment that we found out about this first trip to the north to start the program, the enthusiasm took over each one of us, and the knowledge that it was finally going to start, that the garden had been getting ready for the past two years for this, gives us such a deep sense of excitement.
Arriving to this place, reuniting with the people from the missions in the north is a reason for happiness; there is always so much to share with the priests, seminarians, volunteers, sisters from the Saint Theresa congregation, workers from the mission and the people that belong to the community. The fact that we could witness the big expectation that is placed on this program in the missions is something that fills us with motivation to give the best of ourselves.
After a warm welcome in Barsaloi, we met a group that was mainly formed by women. It brought a lot of joy for us to see the huge interest that everyone was showing for the workshop, by making questions, talking amongst each other or simply by listening intently the knowledge that we were sharing.
In Tuum the story was no different. Once again, the all-female group showed a great predisposition to learn and do the experiments that we had prepared for them with their own hands; these consisted on determining the texture of the different soils and then create small piles of compost. Unlike Barsaloi, in Tuum there are some families that have ventured into agricultural practices, mainly in vegetables like “Sukuma wiki” and Swiss chard (frequently eaten in the country), according to the results shown in the initial polls that we made.
After a long trip from Tuum, we reached our last destination: Lodungokwe. This last group, the least homogeneous in age and gender, is formed by five young males and six females, which is something very positive in our point of view. This will allow cooperative work amongst them, something that is not always possible in the Samburu communities, especially in the more conservative families.
Generally speaking the results of the experiment of soil are very similar in the three missions, where sand predominates over mud and clay, which poses, without a doubt, a big effort to the program. This mandates to look for different techniques of improvement for the soil and optimization for the water; these are needed to overcome this obstacle.
Once we were back in the garden and with our batteries fully charged we were able to testify, with confidence, the importance this program we are creating has for people. Even though we are just starting, we are convinced that in the near future a lot more people will be able to benefit thanks to this kind of programs. The results will be reflected on improving the diet and where, over time, these new abilities can turn into an income for each family.