Reg MacDonald is back on P.E.I. after his second trip to Kenya as a volunteer with Farmers Helping Farmers. Reg is a retired pig farmer and a member of the FHF board. As with his first trip to Kenya, Reg spent time teaching book-keeping to several women’s groups, including some follow-up with groups from his last trip.
He also visited FHF twinned schools, along with FHF board member Winston Johnston.
Reg, Winston and Ken and Teresa Mellish visited groups where the women have received water tanks and drip irrigation, thanks to donations to the FHF Holiday Campaign. The farms with the new irrigation systems have dramatically better crops than before the water system was installed.
Reg, Winston and Ken Mellish also met with several dairy groups, offering support to the dairy and to individual members.
Reg has picked some of the highlights of his trip to share, along with some final reflections on his trip.
Viewing the kitchen garden and discussing the needs of the school with two staff members of the Kiirua Secondary School.
Members of the board of the Buuri Dairy, several of whom are proudly displaying their new glasses collected and sent over from P.E.I. The Buuri is one of the two new dairies that FHF has just started working with.
Ken presenting a new printer to the board and staff of the Buuri Dairy.
Reg and Leah Kariuki present a bookkeeping training session to the board of the Ngusishi Dairy. This is a dairy that FHF has just begun working with. They are a very enthusiastic group and plan to continue growing their dairy. Many members of the dairy attended the seminars put on by Dr. John VanLeeuwen and the AVC veterinary students.
Members of the Ngusishi Board show the FHF team the newly drilled well on their property as well as the location for their new office and milk cooling building.
Winston and Stephen Mwenda(centre) discuss with the staff, the new computer lab at the Rugetene Secondary School. It is newly twinned with Kinkora High School on P.E.I.
Checking out the school garden at the Ruuju Primary School.
Students at K K Ndege School excited to be having their picture taken.
A very successful “drip garden” in the screen house at K K Ndege Primary School. The vegetables from the school garden will be used in the school lunch program.
Reg and Winston checking out the desks in a classroom at the Marinya School. At this school, while they had a good source of water, piped in from Mount Kenya to run the school and supply water for the school garden, we were told that the maize and beans, usually supplied by the parents for the school lunch, would soon be in short supply. Because of the drought, parents were short of maize and beans and with nothing to sell, were also short of money.
Leah, with Reg, presenting a bookkeeping training session, with the Happy Cow Group from the Naari Dairy. This session was a follow up from training done with this great group of farmers in 2016.
This is the “welcome dance” that Reg, Winston and staff employee, Leah, received on Friday from the members of the Kirima Women’s Group. This self-help group are very appreciative of all the help given them by FHF, including water tanks and solar lights. Members who did not have solar lights, received them from the group itself, and the Kirima WG is now working on supplying each member with a ” gas cooker”. A real success story.
On the last evening at the Naari House, our wonderful cooks, Vincent and Robert, honoured their Canadian guests, Winston and Reg with a mango carved in the shape of a Maple Leaf decorating a delicious pizza. This signified the end of our three weeks working in the Meru area of Kenya. The days slipped by rather quickly, but each day had new and interesting experiences.
Throughout our travels, whether visiting farms, schools, womens’ groups or dairies, the main topic was the shortage of rain this year. Inherent in that was always the need for more water storage when the rains do come. As we left Kenya with its significant issues, we will always remember the welcoming, resilient and ever so grateful people that we encountered while there.
Asante sana to Reg and all the FHF volunteers and staff in Kenya. It is exciting to see the progress, and the difference that donations to Farmers Helping Farmers are making in the lives of Kenyan families every year.