“Mine is a sad story. I was married, got four sons and two daughters, and had a good life in the city. Then, one night, my husband disappeared. I searched for him everywhere, but never found him. I had to take my children from school. We started selling water, but after a while we were evicted from our water shop. I could no longer pay the rent. We had to leave our house. My rescue was a small plot of land in my village, with a tiny shack on it. My children and I did rough work, carrying stones on our heads. We started working very hard.
Then, one day, I received a cow from the British charity Send a Cow. They also gave me seeds and training in organic farming and livestock care. The first female calf your cow produces has to be passed on to another farmer.
Now I am an organic farmer, a very good farmer. And I am a trainer of trainees. I go and teach other farmers. My garden is beautiful. I sell mango trees. I grow beets, cauliflower, green peppers and tomatoes. I have seven cows, some poultry and seven sheep. I have sold one sheep to pay for my water bills.
My one special cow is ‘Madam’. She is the cow that changed my life. I have built her a separate shed.
If you ever start with organic farming, you never quit. You achieve a lot. You don’t need chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Look at where I came from, and what I have now! I have bought a motorcycle and a cart. The farmers bring their fresh products; we put them in the cart, and drive straight to our clients, mostly hotels. They are a good market for organic vegetables. We combine our harvests, and sell without middlemen.
Now I have built a bigger house. My children go to school again. My eldest son is in university. People say: ‘Look at her!’ And I tell them: ‘Work hard, and join me’.”
Zenah has been supported by Send a cow Uganda, a member of PELUM Uganda; www.pelumuganda.org