28th March – Wednesday
There is much here reminding me of Sue. The goats – all the little well tended and well fed goats. These animals can forage on scruffy vegetation and appear to thrive. They are quite little, sometimes shiny and smooth. There are some sheep and delightful looking small cattle and these tender grey donkeys. They all look well cared for.
Coming home yesterday from our trip to visit farmers, there is a large dry plain through which the highway runs to Arusha. It is dry and appears somewhat barren or overgrazed. Perhaps it needs the rain and it will bloom again with grasses for the foraging animals. The animals are tended by Masai all along the highway. I’d guess the animals must be always on the move in search of something to nibble. Still, they don’t look worse for wear, although the cattle aren’t overweight and they are small – rather pretty.
Children tend the stock as well – little children, the littlest of children. They tend each other too. The older appear to very carefully watch over the very young.
Farther afield, driving through the lush corn country along bumpy country roads with ruts and holes, there are always people walking and caring for the animals – always. But for this, you’d think you were in the middle of nowhere . . . ‘cept it is mostly all farmed as well with layers of green stretching to the hills beyond – the greens of corn at varying stages of growth. Shrubs and taller trees contribute these shades too – quite pastoral and pleasing.
Children carry water in little jugs – they are not overburdened. Nor do the animals appear overburdened. Children carry bits of fire wood sometimes or herd the animals. I haven’t seen a child crying. The school feeding program is supposed to keep kids off the farm and in the classroom but I wonder . . . .
I see the odd stack of spent corn – the stocks – filling an ox drawn cart or on the back of a bicycle or on someone’s back. And I see people farming like Sue, out there with a machete bringing food for their animals. (I made popcorn the other evening.)
Then there is the laundry, washed by hand in streams, spread to dry on bushes. To wash clothes simply, in a bucket each evening, and to leave to dry on the balcony does not take long, nor is it particularly burdensome. I suppose I could have been reading instead but, at the moment, it was a job that needed tending and I do not have a real want to read. I’ll have clean clothes to wear to work. Simple and – dare I use the “S word” – sustainable. Sustainable really means this: living more simply, but by whose definition?