And another week flies by! Busy as ever and racing on towards my wife Judi arriving on Wednesday and a large group of visitors starting their visit a week today. It’s all very exciting.
There are a lot of very tired young (and old) people here tonight. We’ve been working very hard on our farm, preparing for the next planting season and salvaging what we can from the horrendous weather conditions at the beginning of the year when it rained and rained. We had all the pupils from our upper school classes and all the Technical School students out digging, weeding, watering and slashing (this sounds worse than it really is – it refers to cutting the grass using a ‘slasher’). I was very proud of them all. The youngest class was especially impressive – clearing a large space of groundnuts, grass and weeds. The clearing work that they have done will now allow us to plant yet another plot of Kale to capitalize on the scarcity of kale caused by the poor conditions experienced by other farmers growing the same crop.
It really is a shock seeing how devastating a poor start to the year can be. We actually had about the right amount of rain during this growing season. The only problem is that it all arrived pretty much at once in about the first month, creating water-logging and washing out our crops. We have had very little rain for about the last three weeks, normally a critical time in the growing season. Most of our neighbours have experienced the same problem. There will be a lot of hunger in our community between now and the next harvest at the beginning of next year. Our borehole has been our saving grace as it has allowed us to continue watering despite the lack of rain. We are watering quite a large area at the moment twice a day – in the morning and late afternoon.Watching our ‘bucket irrigation gang’ at work is an inspiration.
Duncan, our Farm Manager has just been discharged from a local hospital following treatment for malaria and typhoid – still tragically common around our area. In his absence his work has been carried out by his assistant, a really great guy called Calistus who has been a very valuable addition to our farm team.
We will have an equally busy day on the farm tomorrow, completing the clearing and weeding on a couple of large plots. The staff and young people have really caught hold of the idea that the farm is a vital source of income for us and work with a very positive attitude. Our hard work this week should mean that we are well prepared for the next growing season which starts at the end of August. Whenever the rain comes we will be ready for it.