On her farm at the foot of the Lugulu Hills in western Kenya, Leonida Wanyama is up long before the sun. Her day begins by lighting a candle and a kerosene lamp, and then milking her one cow. She pours the milk in containers and balances them on the back of a rickety bicycle. Then her husband Peter peddles off into the pre-dawn darkness, in search of customers for the milk. Leonida picks up her hoe to prepare for a morning of tending her crops in the field.
The day is filled with anxiety. Scraping together enough money to buy food for at least one meal. Negotiating prices with the shop owner who bought her maize after the harvest and now demands a price six times higher when Leonida needs to buy during the hunger season. Worrying over how long her children will be able to remain in school before being sent home for more tuition money.
In episode two of The Last Hunger Season film series, we hear from Leonida, her husband, and their children as they make it through the day. We see that the romantic ideal of African farmers tending bucolic fields is in reality a horror scene of malnourished children, backbreaking manual work, and constant worry of how to get by on the equivalent of one or two dollars a day.
We see that every shilling counts and every kernel of maize is precious as the farmers persevere to conquer the hunger season.
This blog post was originally posted on Outrage and Inspire Blog.