Yesterday was a day of walking up and down hills, we left where we are staying at 10am, after the hill clouds had lifted and set off to visit families who are in need of a cow.
Our first stop was to the family of Saul Mwatika, he lives with his wife and 6 children in a small house made from mud bricks on the side of a hill a few kilometres outside of town.
Saul is a committed farmer who is struggling to feed and educate his children with the little income he is able to get from his 2 cows.
Saul has land with the potential to grow enough Napier Grass to feed at least 3 cows. We are looking to “share a cow” with Saul to help him increase his milk yield and the quality of his herd, at the moment he is only able to produce around 10 litres a day.
Our second family is Sylvester & Agnellah Mwangoji who live on an opposite hillside with their children and grandchildren. They had one cow, which gave birth two weeks ago but died the next day (even the vet didn’t know why). They are doing their best and are feeding the calf twice a day with powdered milk, it’s looks very healthy.
We have been told of a very good cow that is due to give birth within the next week, so tomorrow will go and see how she is and see if we can buy her for Sylvester and his family.
As we walk around we can see the land is very fertile and well looked after, there is a fresh water stream coming out of the mountain that the local community have tapped into to pipe water to all the people in the area. It’s amazing to see. As we climbed to see the source, we could see what a blessing the water is to the community and what can be achieved when a community works together!
As we walked, we were invited into many homes and had a chance to chat and discover some of the challenges of farming in the hills. One of our last stops was to visit a farmer who has four cows and is producing around 80 litres of milk each day, 50 litres in the morning and 30 in the afternoon. It was good to see the different styles of farming and the difference a good breed, in conjunction with plenty of water, makes to the milk yield each day.
As we walked around we also discussed the need for Bio gas, there is a growing number of cows in the area and an urgent need to protect the forests, which are an essential part of the ecosystem here but obviously people need to cook! This would be an extremely effective use of resources.
After walking several kilometres, we finally returned at around 5pm! Exhausted but invigorated and excited about the potential here.
Tomorrow we hope to bring you an update from today and some photos of our new cow!
Thanks for checking in our our journey.
Xx Glyn & Janey