John Tyman's
Cultures in Context Series
Studies of the Maasai, the Luhya, and Nairobiís Urban Fringe
FOOD : Agricultural Case Studies: 
8. The Onyimbo Shamba : 072-079

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072. Jorama Onyimbo lives in much the same region as Jimmy Adanje -- one where the population density is lower than it is further south, so that quite large farms are possible. In his particular district, though, the opportunities for commercial cropping are more limited, and pastures have survived. 
073. At the time of my survey he had two wives. The first had borne nine children and lost three to measles. The second had given birth to five but, again, three had died as infants. (First wife, Milka, with 5 of the surviving children.) 
074. Jorama had previously owned 10 hectares but had sold one to pay school fees.  He grew subsistence crops and no sugar. He produced enough to feed his own family, plus a surplus for sale at the Kakamega market ... typically corn, beans and sweet potatoes. 
075. When I knew him he had two cows in milk, 2 calves, 1 heifer, 4 oxen, 3 sheep, and half a dozen chickens. (Wife milking at first light.)
076. He grew no sugar because his district had not yet been opened up by the mill. The company had first to build new roads (and/or upgrade old ones) and then divide local farm holdings into blocks which could be serviced (viz. ploughed and harvested) according to a well organized roster -- men and machines moving from one field to the next. (Wife digging sweet potatoes)
077. The quality of his buildings at that time reflected the absence of any significant supplementary income. Since my visit the thatched mud-walled huts of his wives have been rebuilt with brick walls and iron roof, but his farm has otherwise changed little.
078. Improvisation was the order of the day: bowls were used to catch some of the water running from the roof.
079. And Wycliffe Onyimbo, Milkaís third child, prepared for his exams with the help of paraffin lamp.


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