For the International Women’s Day we are introducing a power woman with a big heart, intelligence and a green thumb. With lots of self-confidence she declares: “I can look after my family myself and this makes me proud!”
Meng Tian, Communication
Eunice Kimiya welcomes us and immediately apologises for not tidying up. Her father-in-law died a few days ago and since then life has been turned upside down. The mother of four has close family staying with her and as host she is now busy organising the funeral.
The fifty-year old farmer has not slept much but that is nothing new. Her day routinely starts at five in the morning and ends at ten at night. However, for some time she has found it easier to get up in the morning thanks to new and fulfilling tasks: work in her kitchen garden and as a Community Health Volunteer. “Before we did not know why a varied diet was so important,” she explains. “We only knew that there were carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins”.
As part of the project “Diversity from field to fork”, Eunice has come to know and appreciate new varieties of traditional leafy vegetables. Like many other farming families in the area, her main crops had been maize, yams and bananas. Now the list is somewhat longer: spinach, cow peas, kale, amaranth, spider plant, black nightshade, pulses such as crotalaria, jute mallow, pumpkins, carrots, spring onions and many more.
Business and knowledge dissemination
Her pleasure comes not just from growing the vegetables but also from producing seeds from the vegetables. The seeds are then sold, creating a new and important source of income for her family. “Previously, I spent too much time and money at the market buying vegetables. I no longer have to do this as I can grow enough for my family. I am so proud of that,” says our superwoman with conviction. She is also quick to respond to the question about what wants for her own family: “I want my family to be healthy and knowledgeable!”
Eunice knows that she owes her success with vegetables to the information gained from the project. She now works as a Community Health Volunteer passing on the information to others in her community. Eunice goes from door to door, shares her experience of vegetable growing and explains the importance of a varied diet. “There are some in our community who are unable to read or write. This type of adult learning is extremely important,” she says. As the wife of a teacher, she is very much aware of the value of the dissemination of knowledge. Her husband now includes nutrition into his lessons. Eunice is convinced that the project ought to continue. “We want to learn even more,” she says. With the planned creation of a local Resource Centre, her wish will soon be fulfilled.