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The Garden Project

Almost 3 years no rain in Laikipia…

The Maasai have been shepherds for thousands of years and have always lived with and from the animals. A life without your cows, sheep and goats is unimaginable for them. The cattle are part of the family and it takes a lot of effort to sell a piece of it.

Now, after the dry years, almost all the animals are dead.

So far, one family has sold one goat per month and used it to buy Ugali. Now they have no more animals to sell and are struggling to survive. When I was there in May/June, almost every day came somebody to ask for food. The families often have NOTHING to eat for days.

In Maasai culture, those who have something give to those who have nothing.

At the moment everyone doesn’t have much and some don’t have anything at all!

During the British colony, cornmeal became part of their. Ugali – Cornmeal is boiled in unsalted water like polenta and is the most important staple food today.


In N’gambo there is a lot of land with good soil, the sun shines 300 days a year, water is plentiful from our borehole project (320m3/day) and the Maasai have two hands and fertilizer in abundance – the manure of their animals, that has been lying unused in a heap for ages!

We have started a garden project so that the Maasai can grow their own corn and other vegetables.

I know “my” Maasai – the women are hardworking workers without rights and the men sit under the acacia tree all day and discuss.

It was hard work to persuade these men to do physical labor – a few actually came and took part in the work.

We got 1 ha of bushland from the community and we want to turn it into farmland.

Very dense bush and huge cacti. First the bush had to be removed by hand with pangas – then an excavator was there for a day to dig up the meter-deep roots and remove the cacti – the milk from the cacti can cause blindness. The following days the root balls, branches and cacti were removed and a wall was piled up along the field. Then a tractor with a disc plow was there for half a day and rebuilt the whole country. Again roots were removed.

The field is currently being turned into a garden – the garden group now works in the field for a few hours almost every day. Men are slowly starting to see that this could be something…

Jimmy the builder, who already dug the borehole last year, is currently pouring 170 concrete pillars and building the electric fence (elephant protection!) and the watering system.

The garden members have already dug the holes by hand – 170 holes x 60cm.


The gardening group