Kenya: The Time of Reckoning

June in these parts of Africa marks the end of rainy season and the start of the all important harvest. The fruits of five months hard work in the fields come to bear at this all important crossroad in the fortune of the village.Between a bumper crop and a poor return lies the difference between a farmer’s children eating well or going hungry.

Soon the fields of sweeping green will be again reduced to reddish brown as the vast swathes of maize and millet meet the cheap steel of their makers. However, at Ondati Girls Secondary School the opposite is happening; the first stage of pineapples has just been planted with high grade suckers sourced by partner organisation Africa Now.

In the school dairy farm we are expecting the first two of our cows to calf down very soon, thus marking a significant increase in the amount of milk available for sale. This will be our first big step towards the final goal of financial self-sustainability.

Another major contribution of income is set to come from our bee-keeping project after the decision was made to allocate funds for an investment of fourteen more hives and a centrifugal extraction machine. July will also bring bee-keeping experts to impart vital skills to our staff, committee members, students and interested community members 

While there is a need to be ambitious and maintain good progress in all of the projects, it is important not to get ahead ourselves and lose focus on the small details which make a big difference. The tendency to overlook problems when they are at initial stages is tempting, especially when there are more exciting things to be getting on with.

Speaking of exciting, I have never seen people more excited as African school children when they score in a sports match. While attending the district sports day, I saw goal celebrations ranging from 2 minutes to well over 10 minutes! The most compelling of them all came from a girls team when ALL of their supporters invaded the pitch and, together with the team, proceeded to charge around screaming with arms flailing above their heads, apparently possessed by an unstoppable force!

Then on the way home the heavens opened and we were traveling four on a motorbike through river/roads at night. No prizes for guessing the result.

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