In partnership with One Acre Fund, we are following Anne, a smallholder farmer from Kenya, for a whole growing season. From planting to harvest, we will check in every month to see what life is really like for a farmer in rural Kenya. Catch up with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5. Written by Hailey Tucker.
In August, the schools in Kenya go on break for a few weeks. For Anne, this means her younger children are around the house during the day, and 25-year-old Briston returns from technical college to spend some time with the family too.
For the last four years, Briston has been working towards a diploma in automotive engineering.
“After finishing the certificate school, I enrolled for a diploma because it will allow me to learn more of the mathematics involved in engineering,” Briston says. “The certificate focused more on theory than practical skills. In the future, I hope to get a degree, which is when my teachers tell me I can really specify my trainings.”
Briston stands tall next to his mother. When he talks about her, he does so with clear admiration. And despite his adult demeanor, he still looks at her with the softness and care a son has for his mother.
“Right now, I’ve been automotive focused, but I’ve been developing an interest in plant mechanics and hydraulics lately,” he says. “In this area, there’s only one person who is acquainted with hydraulics, whereas with motor vehicle engineering, there are many—so I’d like to go into the field of hydraulics because there is less competition.”
Briston has been interested in engineering since secondary school, and Anne says his interest in it surprised her.
“I did not guess he would have an interest in engineering, but I didn’t want to choose any course for him,” she says smiling at Briston. “I wanted him to choose his future for himself, and I think he will do well with this one.”
This year, Anne was especially excited about Briston returning home because it coincided with the family’s first dinner of her newly harvested millet.
After completing her harvest, Anne found her field had produced 270 kg of millet – 90 kg more than she had expected even halfway through the season.
The Wafula family is pleased with their final yield, even though Briston says they should have known that with One Acre Fund, it would be a good harvest.
“I remember when my mama joined One Acre Fund because the first year we planted beans and harvested enough that we could pay my sister’s school fees,” Briston says. “One Acre Fund to our family has been a great help. It really has helped us both economically and with having enough to eat. It has helped me because when I have been away at school, whenever I need something—books or anything—we can afford to get it because we aren’t spending all of our money on food.”
Briston is the first member of his family to ever have achieved this level of education.
“I am very happy about it, and I pray that I will be able to do the same for the rest of my children,” Anne says.
Briston says he only hopes someday he can care for his children the way his parents have cared for him. He says this year he feels especially lucky because not only does he have his loving parents but they have plentiful millet, his favorite food, too.
One Acre Fund serves 125,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, helping them to increase their harvests and incomes. It provides farmers with a service bundle that includes seed and fertiliser, credit, training, and market facilitation, and enables farmers to double their income per planted acre. To learn more about their work, you can read Roger Thurow’s The Last Hunger Season.