The end of a long day. My supper has just squawked it’s way past my window in this little guesthouse in Kyuso, over an hour’s drive from Mwingi.
We managed to corner the regional manager of the WFP programme yesterday to find out about the food delivery. Apparently it’s not even sourced yet but he received an email yesterday morning that it will be here in two days. We shall see. And we shall film the distribution if it happens.
I’ve really begun to see the impact of the FFA scheme that ActionAid is running here.
Today we filmed at the farm of Kyambi Manzi. Back in 2009, during a terrible drought that turned soil to rock, Kyambi and her family of 5 children survived on sporadic meals of a porridge made from the pods of the ukwaju tree. Then she joined the FFA and her farm is neatly terraced with water-retaining earth terraces, and her fields are planted with millet and some green grams, cow peas and young fruit tree saplings. The crop looks okay – not perfect. There are definitely some patchy areas, where the sparse rain during this so-called rainy season has had little effect. But they look a far better sight then neighbouring fields where the soil is bare, and traces of run-off and erosion scar the surface.
Kyambi is relatively lucky. She lives just up-slope from a dam built by the beneficiaries of FFA.
It’s an impressive structure – all the more so when you think there was nothing there but a seasonal stream before.
Now there is a rock/earth wall at least 15 feet high - probably more- stretching across the small valley. There are 190 households benefitting from the water trapped here and it seemed that most of them were present today. They want to make the dam bigger so it can support 300 households. But the few days of rain that’s fallen here since the rainy season started over 2 months ago has left the water level far too low to water Kyambi’s entire field. Only the precious fruit trees get hand-watered though that meagre supply is paying off. One of the mango saplings she planted when she first joined the scheme in 2009 is flowering. Fruit will follow. As for the millet, that depends on the rain. When it comes down to it, it all depends on the rains.