18 Oct Nipe Tumaini: A Farm To Grow On
The Media Team got to spend four days with the Nipe Tumaini family, and we’re excited to share about it with all of you! This is the final entry in a short series of four blog posts we created so you can experience a bit of the contagious joy we found deep in the rural Rift Valley.
The first time a Lahash team visited Nipe Tumaini, the farm was beginning to produce and the house was built, but no children had been placed there yet. Every time a travel team visits, they are eager to show off the new developments.
Benson’s long-term vision is for the farm to be able to meet the nutritional needs of everyone living at Nipe Tumaini, with surplus to sell in the nearby town. He would love to see his farm benefitting not only those who live on the land, but the greater community. While we were there, we got to see some improvements being made which will help them toward these goals.
Rice & Beans Month funds were used to install the initial drip irrigation system, and we got to see that system being upgraded and expanded a bit. Several laborers worked long days in the hot sun to install new lines which were fully operational by the time our visit ended. Benson has plans to continue improving and expanding the irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems, because it will free them from depending on unpredictable rainfall.
This year the rainfall has been particularly light, which has caused two different plantings of maize to fail. Thankfully they have food in storage from previous harvests when rainfall was plentiful, but increasing their capacity to irrigate the land will be a key for achieving sustainability.
As Benson guided the team on a walking tour of the farm, it was clear how much he enjoyed teaching us a bit about the things they are growing. Did you know that the production of a papaya tree decreases as its height increases? Or that watermelons lose sweetness if they get too much water? How much do you know about moringa trees? In addition to shade and beauty, they produce seed pods that are packed with nutrition.
Benson clearly has a passion for farming, having grown up on one himself. But to him, it’s really the combination of farm and family that lights up his eyes. He told us that few things in life make him happier than seeing the children eating fresh-picked food right from the farm. He is already teaching a few of the older kids how to help out with various chores, and he sees how proud they are to be able to contribute.
In addition to the trees and row crops, they are also raising a few cattle, goats, rabbits, and chickens. Milk, meat, and eggs, produced right on their property! The older children are able to help feed the animals and care for them a bit, and even the younger ones like to check up on them from time to time just to see how they’re doing.
As a team, we were in awe of the developments made to the farm, and can’t wait for the next visit to see even more progress. At Nipe Tumaini, the kids and the farm are growing up together. For Benson, this is a dream coming true each day, right before his eyes.