When I read Daniel’s brief sent to me by colleague from Makima LRP, I almost feel like flying all the way to Embu county to meet Daniel who from the brief appears like superman from our childhood movies, what attracts me more are the pictures that my colleague has attached in the brief. “Have you ever seen such a huge sweet potato, some inner voice asks me, and when I am almost replying to the question, I make an instant decision. I will travel to Katuanyaga village in Makima, Embu County to visit Daniel.
When I get to Makima LRP, I immediately notice Daniel and his 2 year old son waiting at the reception. I exchange the routine pleasantries with my colleagues at the office and off we go with Daniel to his farm. Me and his son hand in hand. As we drive through the dusty roads in Makima the 29-year old man explains to me why he does not regret changing his career from a teacher to a farmer. The results are tremendous.
We get near his small portion of land where he is growing his various crops and the view simply amazing. Daniel started planting his crops in a gully. He seized an opportunity to make change in his village and since he lives near Katuanyaga water pan he took advantage of the outlet where cattle drink water by directing the water to an eroded gully.
Daniel is a member of the Makima Disaster Management Committee (DMC). ActionAid Makima LRP through the drought resilience project assisted in the formation of the DMC. Since its formation the team was trained on community managed disaster risk reduction, Soil and water management, value addition, conservation agriculture, basket weaving, fish farming and bee keeping.
After the training I decided that I will make change in my society, and that is when I started farming in the gully. As I begun I was the laughing stock of my community but that made me even better at what I do. I have now planted indigenous vegetables “managu” to substitute kales and I have seen the benefit, the vegetables are nutritious and drought resistant.
David with time has diversified his farming, he is now planting maize, cassava, dolichos, beans green grams, sorghum and I now have 5 cows, 5 goats, 11 sheep and 20 chicken.
We decide to visit his home which is close to the gully. His house is very neat with the compound exceptionally swept perhaps there was a function we were not aware of. Without much talk we visit his cow shed, amazing work is all what is evident.
The cows especially look healthy and he says that were it not for the farming training that he received from ActionAid, he would not have progressed in his life as he has now.
“Soil erosion has since reduced in my farm and I am able to feed my family with the food that am growing. I have even sent my wife back to school and her school fees comes from the money I get from selling food.” Adds Daniel.
My neighbours now come to me to buy sweet potato tubers from my farm, yet initially people did not understand what I was doing in the gully, my hard work has now bore fruits and I am a proud farmer
As I live his home, I am happy that from the brief I had read from my Colleague nothing was a mistake.