29. Nov, 2014

A meal of stones

I received a small package in the post recently and when I opened it a small stone fell out. This stone came with a story about the harsh reality of life in eastern Africa.

     Searing heat and the lack of rain is almost unheard of in Wales where I live with my kind and unassuming husband, but in some parts of Africa the lack of rain also means the lack of food. It is so bad in the Mwingi district, that families are forced to cook meals of stones.

     Mothers will light a fire and upon it, they will place a pot of water. After adding some stones, they will sit with their children and listen to it bubbling. They will tell stories to the children or sing to them until they are asleep. Of course, they are still hungry but they have a full helping of their mother’s love.

      As the letter explained, the recipe also shows you something else. These farmers are resourceful and resilient and with good quality seeds they could survive and children would not have to sleep with rumbling tummies. The seeds in question have proven to survive droughts and have high nutritional and commercial value.

       Farmers, lucky enough to be given some of these precious seeds are then taught how best to plant them.  They dig a zai pit into the ground and then add some goat manure. A thin layer of soil is added after the first rainfall, only then can the seeds be planted. It is the manure that helps retain the moisture in the soil, making a little rain go a long way.

       It is hard to believe that here in Wales, we have more than our share of rain, I wish I could bottle it up and send it to the farmers so their crops can grow.

If anyone is interested in the work of FARM AFRICA, please check out their website.