Kenya Farm Africa visit – Part 2 Joyce’s farm
Up early for a some breakfast and we load up the cars to go and see Joyce and her family. I was very excited for this visit as Ashley spoke so highly of Joyce and her family, he spent 5 days with them last year helping them dig a fish pond and also ended up cooking a meal for around 65 people from surrounding villages. On the way to Joyce’s we stopped in at the local aqua shop, the owner showed us around his store and explained how he helps and supports the farmers from stocking the ponds to harvesting the fish. We had a few minutes to spare so had a little look around the local town and stumbled into a butchers where they were cooking goat on an indoor BBQ, it looked amazing the guy cooking gave us all a sample and it was very tasty I must say.
As we drove into Joyce’s village we had a very similar welcome to the one from the Afula women and this was just as pleasing. They were anticipating our arrival and the kids couldn’t wait, within seconds of getting out the truck after hugs and welcomes the kids were holding our hands and posing for photos. The excitement was massive for us all. We spent the day getting involved in their normal activities from digging the fields, carrying water on our heads from the stream to the house, and harvesting the fish. This was very hard work and we only had a taster of it. For Joyce and the ladies of the community their day starts around 5.00am to get breakfast on then into the farm to dig crops, weeds and turn the soil, then make lunch, back out to the farm whilst also feeding the fish, then they need to get dinner ready, and as soon as it is dark around 6.30pm it is time for bed. They have around 25/30 mouths to feed, no electricity and the running water is 100 yards away. There are no days off or no holidays, this is day in day out. The kitchen is a closed hut with a corrugated iron roof and three fires on the floor to cook on. It was so hot and so smokey I could only stand in there for 2 minutes. I thought I knew what hard work was but I had never witness anything like this. It really brings you down to earth and shows up the shirkers in our society for what they really are. With what I witness over there if you don’t work, you and your family don’t eat, there are no government hound outs because you can’t be bothered to work. We really are very lucky over here.
The hardest part of the day was harvesting the fish pond, all done by hand using a massive net, we all mucked in to the drag the net along the bottom of the pond to catch the Tilapia fish, then rinsed them and sorted them into buckets whilst separating out the odd cat fish and the many many frogs. With no time to waste the guys weighed the fish and then we gutted them one by one next to the pond. These fish go out to sale so it is important that this is done quickly and efficiently so they can be moved on to the market.
We were treated to some lunch cooked by the women of the village using the produce they grow and breed. It was a massive spread consisting of chicken, Tilapia fish, lentils, rice, spinach, Irish potatoes, Ugaly, and chapattis. We watched in awe as one of the teenagers meticulously made every chapatti by hand, Joyce cooked the traditional Ugaly and the other ladies fried the Tilapia. Later in the day we gave the children of the village some gifts, Ashley had bought some colouring books for his two little friends Joyce’s grandchildren Kelly and Nicole. Farm Africa had bought a football for all the kids to share. It was like Christmas their eyes were beaming. We decided to have a game of football, wrong decision as those kids are fit and can run all day. It ended up me and Paulo playing uphill against 8 kids with Ashley in goal their end, we lasted about ten minutes before both hitting the deck absolutely knackered.
Saying goodbye was tough for us all but even harder for Ashley, he has an amazing bond with the community here which was clear to see, he is the kids hero and it was fascinating to watch how they admire and look up to him. The community thanked us and waved us off as we passed out of the village. As drove to where we were staying I couldn’t get the kids out of my mind, Recently becoming a father myself I Just kept thinking how fortunate my 5 month old daughter Esmé is and how I can’t wait till she is old enough to understand so I can tell her stories about the amazing people I met over in Kenya.
Farm Africa really do some incredible work and it was brilliant to see it in action, I was very proud to support and raise money for them by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro so please if you can sponsor us on the link below.