Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas in October

Submitted by:
Winston Johnston

Late in 2007 someone on Prince Edward Island made a donation in support of the Farmers Helping Farmers Christmas program, to provide a small plastic screen house (a greenhouse with screen walls) for one of the women in the Ruuju Womens Self Help Group, near Mikinduri, Kenya.

On the 27th of October of this year I inspected one such screen house on a small three acre farm operated by Mrs. Regina Kanja Mung’athia. From this farm land Regina must support a family of six, including herself. With the financial support provided by the Island donor and technical help from Farmers Helping Farmers, Regina was able to construct a 6 x 9 metre plastic screen house, supported by wooden posts, into which on 21st of July of this year she transplanted 180 climbing tomato plants. Regina then purchased a five gallon plastic container and drip irrigation lines to deliver the necessary water to the tomato plants. This watering system uses much less water than conventional irrigation, much to Regina’s advantage as each day she has to carry water to use in the screen house.

Beginning the first of October Regina began to use tomatoes in the preparation of her family’s meals and will do so for the next eight months when the crop will be finished. In addition, weekly trips are being made to the local market to sell tomatoes which will provide the family with an income of some 500 Kenyan shillings (about $8.25 CDN) per week. Thus, the donation made to the 2007 Christmas program brought Christmas to Regina by increasing her family’s annual income by about 16,000 Kenyan shillings ($250 Canadian), while at the same time improving the nutrition of her family.

Photo - Regina standing in screen house showing ripe tomatoes in the background

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