Meet my friend Consolata from Kakamega, Kenya. She has an incredible story that you’ll want to hear. This is Matt from LDS Charities, and I had the opportunity to talk with Consolata on a recent trip. Tap on her photo to see her story.
She has 9 children, and for years they could only provide one meal a day for each family member. Her husband works manual labor, and she helps with the family income by farming their 2-acre farm. Today, thanks to LDS Charities and One Acre Fund, Consolata’s farm is producing more harvest than ever before, and her family is enjoying 3 meals a day. This is just the beginning of how her life is changing.
I was surprised to find that advancements in farming techniques over the last 100 years haven’t reached this part of the world. This is a typical cornfield with stalks about 6 feet tall. Notice there are no rows or planned spacing. Seeds are simply scattered on the ground with the assumption that planting more seeds will equal a greater harvest. It’s counterintuitive to learn that greater yields come when fewer seeds are planted to allow adequate sunlight and nutrient absorption. This is what Consolata’s 2-acre farm used to looked like, and the farm only produced around 110 pounds of corn.
Consolata showed me around her farm, which is now one of the best-producing farms in the area. She plants corn, onions, kale, and sweet potatoes.
I was amazed at the health of her corn, which stood at least 10–11 feet tall. She is reaping the benefits of modern planting techniques taught to her by LDS Charities’ local partner One Acre Fund.
Remember how Consolata was harvesting just 110 pounds of corn? After implementing new techniques, her harvest is now almost 1,540 pounds! Not only can she feed her family 3 meals a day with this harvest, she is also able to sell her extra corn and pay to enroll her children in school.
She recently bought a sheep with extra cash from her latest harvest.
LDS Charities and One Acre Fund are also providing families with a solar light and radio. The light allows children to do homework after the sun sets, and the radio provides Consolata with some well-deserved relaxation. Who can’t use some of that?
I could tell Consolata was a charitable person. I asked her if she was able to do anything with her extra harvest to help others. She responded, “Whenever I have extra harvest, I always take some to my church so they can help community members who don’t have food.” I was touched that this good woman did not forget the principle of giving back. Self-reliance is more than just having enough to eat, but I believe the ultimate act of self-reliance is when we are able to give our surplus to help others.