Farming in Kenya/My Favorite Borrower, part 2 of 2

Francis and Nyota

With his loan, Francis purchased a beautiful and well-built Ayshire dairy cow he’s named Nyota, “star” in Swahili.  She’s a good producer and yields about eight liters of milk per day that he can sell at the market for about 30 shillings ($0.36) per liter.  Even better is that his dairy herd has doubled since her purchase—her calf was a female and will start producing in a few months.

In case you missed that, here’ what Francis has gained from his loan from Juhudi generously funded by lenders like you:

1) An insured dairy cow

2) A second dairy cow

3) Collateral for his loan

4) Monthly profit of about 7000KES ($83)

5) An additional protein source (milk) for his family

When we walked into his field where he has his maize and beans planted, I asked why he has the beans and corn planted together.  I know in the States we plant these together because the beans are nitrogen fixers and help ensure a good supply of nitrogen for the beans as they grow, but I was curious what his answer would be.  “Because the beans help with nitrogen for the corn!” he replied.  He then excitedly pointed to another tree I’ve seen planted in fields all over Kenya, “This tree, a grivelea, also helps with nitrogen.  It doesn’t need much water, and we can also use it for firewood if we need it.”  I was elated—finally someone can answer all my farming questions!  The beans he grows are nicknamed “Amin beans”.   “You know Idi Amin, the bad guy? These beans are resistant to disease and drought—very hard to kill—just like Amin!” I notice he has some eucalyptus planted as a divider between his field and his brother’s. “Yes, these take a lot of water, but I planted the breed recommended by the extension officer, so they take less.  When these are fully grown, I can cut them when I need money and sell them for over 10,000 shillings each.” That’s over $100USD; these trees are like a living savings account for him. When I remark that I can see the cow manure in the yard has been scooped up, he walks me over to his patch of sukuma wiki (collard greens) and proudly says these plants have been flourishing for three years, thanks to careful tending and the nutrients provided by the manure he distributes there. “THREE YEARS!” he emphasizes.  Before he had Nyota, he would use manure from neighbors’ cows.

Francis in his sukuma wiki patch.

As we walk back towards his neat home, he points out the large cistern and tells me with obvious pride that he never needs to pay for clean water because he can collect it himself.  This is pretty important, as he has nine children, the youngest of which is ten.  Later, when the ladies are inside talking amongst ourselves, his wife laughs and tells me she would not recommend having nine children.  In fact, she didn’t aim to have so many, but she was told not to use any form of birth control by her doctor when she was younger.  She loves them all, but it has been difficult feeding them and putting them all through school (the four oldest have just graduated from college or are about to do so).  Their hope for their children is to make them self-sufficient so that they don’t have to come back home!  They agree that if the children take care of them in their old age, that will be nice, but they mostly pray their children can take care of themselves.  Sending them through school is just one of the ways they’ve equipped them to do so.

Francis and his cistern

Francis is fairly representative of the Juhudi Kilimo borrowers I meet.  Each one is so happy to see the faces of the people supporting them (even the ones of you with cats as your profile picture).  The loans you have made have uplifted them and they feel like their progress would not be possible without a partner like Juhudi.

Francis looking at his profile

Your loan allows us to continue to alleviate poverty in Kenya.  Along with Kiva and other borrowers like Francis, we thank you for your ongoing support and for spreading the word to your friends about the good work being done.  To see all currently fundraising loans from Juhudi on Kiva, click here.  A personal referral is the best way to spread the Kiva love; please tell your friends about the good work Juhudi Kilimo and Kiva are doing!

With sincere gratitude,

Jada Tullos Anderson

Kiva Fellow

Nairobi, Kenya

Click here to read more about Juhudi Kilimo on the Fellows Blog.

Want to loan to hard working farmers like Francis?  Click here to go to the Friends of Juhudi team lending page on Kiva.

I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now.  Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again. -Stephen Grellet


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