Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hauling Water

Today's picture shows a man pumping water from a hand pump. The well is in town, and he pumps water and hauls it to his homestead outside of town. He does not have the money to drill his own well. The picture was taken in 1940.

Today is my last full day in Africa, and I leave tomorrow. I will go visit the children today in the hopes that we can get the finishing touches on all the projects.

Yesterday I visited a very interesting facility in downtown Kitale. The Swedes have put in a 10 acre demonstration farm. The farm is split into many small demonstration mini-farms. They are working mini-farms which show methods to drastically improve land productivity in Africa. For example, they have one 1 acre plot. On this plot, they support 7 goats and three cows with no supplemental feed. All food for the animals is grown on the 1 acre. The cows are penned and the goats are in elevated little goat houses made from scrap wood. On the acre plot they grow this cane grass that gets 5 feet high. They plant it in stages so each day some is reaching maturity. The cane crass is used to feed the goats, and then around the perimeter of the plot, they are growing this very bushy tree . . . almost like a huge weed. Greenery is cut from these bushes to feed the cows. They then have a clever scheme of using just the right mixtures of the goat and cow poop to maintain fertility of the soil. The goats produce milk and meat, and the cows produce milk. The income achievable from this set up is astronomical compared to the traditional African farming of an acre of Maze. 

I think it would be extremely neat to return to Africa (perhaps with a team of people) and purchase maybe 5 acres of land adjacent to the children we are working with, and then implement some of these farming techniques. In this way, they children would be able to not only provide for themselves, but would be educating themselves in modern agricultural techniques. Then perhaps also look at things like aquaponics and hydroponics. Might be an interesting project.


  1. That would indeed be an interesting project. My degree is in sustainable and renewable resources and my study area was management intensive grazing. I would be interested in contributing to a project of this type either as a donor or a s ateam member. Please announce on your site any movements in this area.

  2. Lorenzo,
    Will do. We will be probably trying to first bring a team over Christmas. The purpose will be to assess to progress/success of the well, garden, and chickens, and adjust as necessary. Then we will be trying to do come very simple things to improve the quality of life of these children. Give them matresses, mosquito nets, bedding, knives, forks, spoons, cooking pots, and water filters. Then perhaps next summer an extended trip to investigate purchase of property and implementing some innovative projects in agriculture.

  3. Did you take more photos of the Swede's project, very, very interesting?
    And when you say scrap wood, you did mean scrap wood.

    Now about your farmer getting water. I wonder if that windmill in the background is pumping water into a cistren, and is being hand pump out from there.
    What a car/truck he has there. It looks like he put together a few different units to make one.
    But when your poor, any thing will do.
    That well is real close to the building.

  4. Hurray for the Swedes and PJM. I wonder how a "network" could be created so all the different parties who are trying to help Africa could communicate and share ideas and results.

  5. I see a summer project for ag students.

  6. found this site. thought you might find it interesting:


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