This was a large group with sixty members spread over an area of 1.5 square kilometres, of whom about 50 percent spoke English. Their land was fertile and rich and could be irrigated through gravity feed down gentle sloping hills, which meant they did not have to use petrol pumps. The farmers use crop rotation with hand digging and weeding. This is mainly done by female weed clearers who are paid KS100 a day.
VeSeL project member Lynne Dunckley addresses the Baricho farming group.
This village is more remote than Kiangwachi, but the group is more organized and structured. They are farmers of the Kikuyu ethnic group, but perhaps because of their location they do not speak English fluently and the use of translators was essential for us.
Kiangwachi is located in the central highland area of Kenya, close to Mount Kenya and the Aberdare mountain range. This is the homeland of the Kikuyu tribe near the provincial capital of Nyeri. The land here is generally lush, green and fertile, and rainfall is regular, although some degradation has been caused by deforestation. There are large well-watered fields of maize, beans, wheat and vegetables and the soil is rich, dark red-brown and moist.
Traditionally Kikuyus regarded Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga) as a sacred place. It is the second highest peak in Africa. Before European missionaries came to the central highlands at the end of the nineteenth century, the Kikuyus had a largely oral culture. Messages were transmitted by methods such as drums and gichandi made from gourds. Proverbs, folk wisdom and information was transmitted in this way.
Kenya consists of residents from many different cultures.
The youthful population of Kenya is around 34 million, with the median age of 18.2 years. By the end of 2001, Kenya was host to 220,000 refugees from neighbouring countries particularly Somalia and Sudan. The population of Kenya is sub-divided into the following ethnic groups â€“ Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjiin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6% and other African 15%, non-African 1%.
English and Kiswahili, also referred to as Swahili, are the official languages of Kenya. Both are taught in school and are equally popular; however rural Kenyans prefer to use their traditional tribal language. Kiswahili is spoken in all areas of Kenya but there are many places outside of the towns where English is not spoken.