News and knowhow for farmers

Back in the Day, Tilling Land Was a Communal Activity Characterised by Song and Dance

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Most of us who grew up in the village, and who are old enough, must have witnessed this first hand.

Groups of people rising to till one villager’s farm, before moving on to the next. It used to take the form of a merry-go-round and within three weeks all the farms in the village were tilled, ready for planting.

The same would be repeated during weeding and harvesting.

The Luos called it Nyoluoro, the Abagusii Risaga,  Kalenjin Morig, and the Kamba Mwethia.  

In some communities, the women would stay at home and prepare food for the men in the farms. The food would be packed in one container and when it was time to eat, it was served on banana leaves, just to lessen the burden dealing with dirty utensils later.

Calabashes were used as mugs for water or porridge; and only a couple were carried to the farms, with everybody waiting their turn to use them.

It can be a bit nostalgic thinking about the beautiful people, working the beautiful lands.

Work songs kept people’s spirits up in these grounds, and it was not uncommon for one of the workers to break away from the pack to entertain the rest with a jig or a series of jokes.

Now, all we see are machines crawling around tiny blocks of land, making dizzying sounds. And while tractors and other equipment have made it easy to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time, they have taken away the communal unity of back in the day. 

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