A Miracle Grows in Kenya
“How inspired am I going to feel about a piece of irrigation equipment?” I wondered, as our van bumped across the African savannah.
Despite raising my family among the cornfields of Iowa, I know very little about farming. Let alone about farming in Kenya.
After leaving my own six kids in the capable hands of my husband, Becky (my co-founder), Esther (our photographer) and I were beginning our 16-day trip through East Africa. We were there to meet farmers whose lives had been transformed, all because of one piece of equipment: an irrigation pump.
After an hour of driving through fields and farmland, we turned onto a small dirt road, stopping in front of a modest home.
The door opened and three kids bounced out, followed by a young mother wearing a KickStart baseball hat and matching skirt. Her skirt’s print was images of women watering their gardens. She was the perfect walking advertisement.
Peninah seemed quiet and shy, giving us a meek smile. Her children were getting older she said, flatly patting each on the head. Ages 13, 10, and 4. Two boys, one girl.
Eight-months earlier, Sarah, a KickStart sales rep, noticed Peninah and her husband hauling buckets of water to their field. Fruitlessly, they struggled to keep their crops from withering away. Sarah waved to them and did a quick demonstration. Peninah and her husband had never seen anything like it before; it was remarkable. They purchased the pump on the spot.
“The irrigation pump changed everything.”
In just one season, they reaped a huge harvest. They ate well and sold extra crops to their neighbors. With the new income, Peninah said proudly, Kennedy, her oldest son, is now attending secondary school. All three children are now enrolled, actually.
Peninah’s story is all too common. In Sub-Saharan Africa, most of the rural poor struggle to survive as subsistence farmers. About one in five people were facing hunger in Africa in 2020, and Lancelot estimates almost 130,000 children worldwide will die from malnutrition due to COVID-19. It’s estimated that 40 million people in Africa could benefit from this simple pump. The needs are dire.