Set against the backdrop of Mount Kenya, Ihururu is a small, tranquil village situated in the Highlands of the Central Province of Kenya. People living here admirably live a splendidly, simple life. This weekend, we went off the beaten track and truly experienced the life of a small-scale farmer living off his shamba – vegetable garden.
Nestling between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare ranges, agriculture is the main economic activity in Nyeri (situated approximately 150km north of Kenya). The name Nyeri is derived from the Maasai word nyiro, meaning red after its red volcanic soil. The name was subsequently changed to Nyeri by the white settler farmers. The county is renowned for its high production of tea and coffee, which are grown chiefly as a cash crop for exportation. Most Kikuyus currently living in this region are predominantly farmers who also grow food crops such as maize, beans, assorted vegetables and sweet potatoes. Typical relict of the colonial settlement policy, the Nyeri city urban area is surrounded by farms within the municipality blending seamlessly into the rural area.
Travelling miles out of the city on the hunt-out for a great cup of coffee and tea, we were also warmly welcomed into the garden shamba home of a Kikuyu farmer. Mahindas, a cultured retiring farmer make a living through his small vegetable shamba in his home village. Not only were we able to enjoy the fresh vegetables grown from his garden during dinner, eggs fresh from his hen house and milk from his cows were also available for our tasting on the breakfast table. What meal can get as fresh as having vegetables harvested right from one’s front garden before arriving at the dinner table? Located in Kenya’s fertile highlands, Nyeri is truly a land blessed with plentiful water and food resources.
Thanks to Mahindas, we had the opportunity of living the life of a simple farmer in Kenya. Milking the cow, watering the vegetables, feeding the chicken, enjoying a cup of fresh tea……sometimes simple things are really the best things in life.