By France Routhier-Vos
Resilience is the capacity to withstand, or to recover quickly from difficulty.
Travelling to Africa has been a lifelong dream of mine. Hoping to observe beautiful landscape, impressive wildlife, and to meet new people from different background. Within two weeks, Kenya has offered me much more.
Travelling with Farmers Helping Farmers (FHF) has definitely played a big part in the warm welcome we received when we arrived. We met with the Kenyan staff of FHF on our first day in Meru County. They are a team of nine specialists that seem to be a gift to the organization. They thoroughly explained the goals and achievements related to their mission. Some examples consist of giving and installing solar lights, water tanks, grow bags, cook stoves, and biodigesters to womens’ groups and schools. FHF also offers clinics and trainings to different groups of farmers to help them improve their livelihood.
I am grateful to be part of this team led by Teresa and Ken and working alongside such knowledgeable people. My small contribution has been to help teach basic bookkeeping to small groups. To my surprise, there was a real need for small farm business people to be able to manage their money. Classes were well-attended and the somewhat dry subject was very well-received.
Kenyans have all gone through several tough years with the onset of COVID and a long drought. Even in the landscape, the plants try to strive in dry weather. A special plant that I’ve been introduced to is euphorbia. It is used for fencing and feeding the animals, mostly goats and sheep.
What marked me the most so far is the resilience of these people. Having almost nothing but striving to continue growing crops, raising livestock and trying to feed their families. As one Kenyan told me, “People are happy when they have food and they can put their kids through school.”
I also had the opportunity to travel with Teresa and a few staff to some of the most environmentally-challenged areas in the county to welcome two new groups to FHF.
On our way to the very dry region of Nkando, I asked Salome Ntinyari (Teresa’s right hand) if her last name has a special meaning. She told me that it means the contented one. I thought to myself what a beautiful name and how representative of the Kenyans’ character…along with their resilience and contagious joy! Hakuna Matata!