Filming a Smallholder Farmer in Chibombo

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I crawled out of bed at 6:00AM to catch a bus to Central Province. I went to visit the Rent to Own team and meet a few of our clients to film a video for work.

It was 9:30AM when I arrived at my stop in Chibombo and met one of our Field Officers, Onasis. We travelled quite a distance by motorbike. We drove off the tarmac, onto dirt roads, then even narrower dirt roads until we ended up at Mr. Okello’s farm. Now, I understood what Onasis meant when he said I wouldn’t be able to find our clients on my own!

Mrs. Okello greeted us and went to look for her husband. In typical Zambian fashion, they brought out small, wooden chairs for us to sit on. Mr. Okello seemed to appear magically from a field of maize. He greeted us and caught up with Onasis. He brought the water pump out to the field and apologized, “Madam, sorry that you are walking in the mud. We are used to playing in the mud, you need to get gum boots like these.” I told him not to worry, I expected a muddy day!

Talking to Mr. Okello was such a treat! He was beaming with pride at his farm. He made sure to show me the green peppers, rape, maize, and tomatoes. We showed me a hole in the ground filled with water. This was the well. He explained that the water level stays the same, even after watering. They set up the water pump and started it. I began filming as Samuel adjusted the pump. He walked over to one of the fields and began watering.When I asked him how it felt when he first received the pump, he nearly jumped out of his chair explaining that he was so excited and that he would dream he was watering his crops in his sleep! Before having the pump, Mr. Okello and his staff used to carry water buckets to water the fields. It sounded excruciating just looking across the massive fields! He explained how he can now water the fields with less effort and physical strain now.

Samuel is constantly thinking of his family’s future. His eldest son is four and will be sent to school soon. He explained that the future is bright for them. His family’s income has increased in the five months that he’s had the water pump. He pointed out a plot of land that he will expand his farm into. Mr. Okello thinks big. He told me about his plans to build a bore hole and get a generator. He’s doing so well that, soon enough, his needs will outgrow the water pump and he will be purchasing a bigger micro-irrigation system. Cool. This is what can happen when farmers have access to technological innovations.
Comments (1)
  1. Monika February 2, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Wonderful story. What an impact you are having!

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