Sunday, July 8, 2012
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.