We traveled to the village of Kimbule, which sits on a dry hilltop west of the Kenyan coastal ridge. This area receives little rainfall, but the natives try to grow maize. Most of the maize we saw is failing, similar to what has happened to some of the Iowa corn this year. The difference, though, is that the consequences here, of not having a crop is even more devestating than in Iowa. Since the growing season is almost finished these people will have empty bellies for most of the next year. The children will have at least one meal a day through the local public school, but the adults will have little to eat, unless there is some crisis aid that comes from either a private or governmental agency or from their children who have better jobs in the city.
One of the observations that is quite apparent is that this hillside where these people live is not conducive to grow corn/maize. The ground is too hard. The rain is too little. Bob Hall's recommendation is that they consider growing sorghum. This is a hard sell to the people because the women don't know how to cook with sorghum. They only know how to cook with the corn meal. Apparently the sorghum has some better nutrients than the corn, but it's an uphill battle. If you've ever been on a diet you know how this goes: if you don't like it you don't eat it. So, there are multiple components operating. Another option is that the people can grow goats on their hill Then, they can potentially drink the milk from the mama goats and sell some of the goats for goat meat. This is a very valid option, and some of their neighbors are doing just this. So, one of our projects in this village might be to help the people start raising goats. The other advantage of this approach is that if they are successful in raising a goat herd the goats from early herds can be used in other herds in other villages If we decide to partner with the church group to get some goats, then a part of the agreement will be that there is a responsibility to share breeding stock with other Christians in other villages. In this manner there is multiplication of the initial investment so that many are impacted and can sustain themselves when drought occurs.
One great thing about this Kimbule village is that there is a very active church in the village. The pastor came to know Jesus as Savior when he was working in the big city of Mombassa, and then he returned home to his village to start the church a number of years ago. In addition to the church he started the school. When we arrived at the village about 60 children came out to sing and dance for us. They were as enthusastic and beautiful as you can imagine. I was able to capture a little bit of video on my small camera. I am so very glad that even with the poor audio capabilities of my crude sound recording equipment I was able to capture some of this event on camera. Four of us white guys spoke to the children and village, and the kids did great listening to us.