Although I don’t make money from farming, I am one of the highly respected farmers in Mwisho wa Lami.
Unlike other farmers who just use the traditional methods to plant maize, I am one of those who tries out new crops, or new farming methods.
I may not have grown rich from it, but you can be sure of one thing, I always have maize and beans all year round, with enough to give to petty neighbours and lazy relatives. Fiolina sells it sometime, although I have never seen the money!
Early this year, I attended a seminar which encouraged us to stop using fertiliser, and start using manure instead, for better production. I was keen to implement this.
There was one problem though: I reared no cattle in my home, and could therefore not freely get manure. I could have asked my father for some, but I chose not to, unless I wanted the whole of Mwisho wa Lami to know about it.
My initial plan was to buy some, but when I asked around, I found it was too expensive, and that was before transporting it.
With the rains almost starting, I realised I did not have enough time to keep sourcing for manure, but then I got an idea that could easily work in my favour.
“All boys should come tomorrow with a gorogoro of dry cow dung,” I announced on evening parade three weeks ago, a few days after my ‘handshake’ with Bensouda.
The next day, all the boys brought cow dung, and they all put it in a mound behind the classes. It was a fairly good amount, but not enough for the piece of land I had leased from Hitler.
“Although cow dung is good, the most nutritious manure is that from chicken droppings or goat manure,” I remembered our trainer saying.
I could not just ask all the students to bring it as it was rare, but I devised a new way to get it, however little. Two weeks ago, I started arriving at school early, and would close the gate at around 7.30am.
Any student who was late would find their name on the late comers list. We also had noise makers.
As punishment, they each had to bring half a gorogoro of goat manure or chicken droppings to be admitted back to school.
In the meantime, all boys continued bringing cow dung thrice a week. I started smelling trouble when several teachers got interested in the pile of manure.
“I think it’s time I revived the 4K Club,” Erick said the other Friday. “We should not let this manure go to waste. This manure has its owners,” I reminded Erick.
A few days later, he had revamped the 4K Agricultural Club, and they tilled some small plots in the school compound, in preparation for planting.
“We can produce enough maize, beans and vegetables to serve the teachers all year round,” he said in a staff meeting.
It started to rain here last Wednesday, and since my farm is ready, I planned to plant yesterday.
I talked to Tocla, my brother-in-law who runs an ox-plough that is also used to carry bulky stuff, and invited him to school on Friday afternoon to carry the manure to my farm. I was not in school, but had aligned the school watchman, not expecting any resistance.
“Dre, please come, there is a teacher who has stopped us from carrying your manure,” Tocla called me to complain.
“Na hatuwezi kaa hapa, tuko na kazi nyingi.” I asked which teacher it was and was told it was the agriculture teacher. I left what I was doing and went straight to school.
“What’s the problem,” I asked Erick. “I am the one who asked the students to bring the manure to school with a plan to use it on my farm.”
“That is abuse of office, Dre,” he said. “This is misusing the students for your own personal gain, which is against the TSC Code of Conduct.”
I released Tocla, but told him to be on standby as I may need him anytime. My plan was to carry the manure at night. That evening I received a call from Bensouda
“I hear you are calling school manure yours?” she asked me when I picked her call. I told her I am the one who had organised it. I also told her that the school plots were very small, and that I was willing to leave enough to be used by the school, but she refused.
At 8pm that Friday evening, Tocla and I went to school to pick the manure. To our shock and awe, it was all gone.
Upon asking, we learnt that a Canter vehicle had carried the manure to a farm that apparently belongs to Bensouda. With that, Bensouda is out of the London trip, or any other trip for that matter!