Before Rachel and Jon left for Kenya, they were interviewed by Granada ITV News at St Mary’s Catholic College in Blackpool. The interview is currently featured on the Granada ITV website. To watch the interivew please click on the following link: http://www.itv.com/granada/lanc-college-go-to-kenya70343/
This interview may appear on Granada News on Sunday 6th February.
Blog for Isiolo 2nd Feb
Karibu Isiolo! We have travelled north of the equator to the mountainous region of Isiolo. The landscape has changed dramatically from Kitui, with Mount Kenya dominating the horizon.
We have visited some incredible communities benefitting from grassroots programmes which are life changing for them.
Through the Catholic Diocese of Isiolo, the Maili Saba Irrigation project is helping more than 200 households at a time when the people had given up hope of accessing water. In 2002 the government brought in a Water Sector Reforms policy which prevented communities digging trenches for irrigation.
Now Paulo, his wife Lillian and three children are able to grow onions, maize and they are expanding to pumpkins, bananas and mangoes. The scent of the onions was pungent as it wafted gently on the warm breeze while we chatted to the community.
Within the next month the whole community will become self sustainable and will no longer need the assistance of government food handouts.
Growing crops in a drought prone area isn’t easy but there are other problems to cope with. Moses Katama told us of issues with the local wildlife. Most gardeners back home would sympathise with this. Slugs are a real garden pest. But Moses was referring to an incident involving a herd of elephants trampling his crops! He asked the Kenya Wildlife Service located nearby to chase them away which they did. The land, which is two acres divided between his family, is not compensated for by the government when an animal destroys it.
The group are very ambitious and have great plans to develop the land and cultivate more crops. This is very encouraging and empowering to see them so proud of their land and their crops and how it has made such a difference to their lives.
The group currently has 18 goats between them. One goat can produce four litres of milk in one day, so a household can keep one litre for itself and sell the other three litres. This way an income is created.
75% of the group don’t have other forms of employment, so they depend on this as a form of income.
They hope to open a dairy shop in the future. Their dream is to have dairy cattle too. They’d even like to construct a factory to pack the milk!
The group are looking at ways to loan money to members for home improvements and to pay the fees of local children who couldn’t otherwise go to school. They would also like to give some of the milk away to locals. This was so impressive – a community with so little is so generous and shares so much. Joseph, the patron of the group, said: “It is the common man who gives, not the rich.”
We have been left so humbled by these communities who are so grateful for what they have. They own their projects, have a strong structure and definite, ambitious future plans.
Development is a complex thing. CAFOD, through its strong, organised and committed partners, is doing wonderful things.
I feel this Swahili proverb is so appropriate here:
“Haba na haba hujaza kibaba.”
‘Little by little fills the pot’
Asantee sana and kwahairy!