It’s hard to believe that we have complete 8 nutrition trainings by now, but somehow we have managed it. We started our trainings at 8am on Wednesday May 29th with the pilot farmers from Muhoza. These farmers were the first to be trained in raising chickens and many have completed over 8 cycles already.
Looking out at the 30 chairs set up on the patio of the demo farm, I was very nervous for our first nutrition training. All 4 of us, Tracy, Patsy, Odeth, and I, had been preparing for this for months. I was very surprised, however, when 8am passed and not a single farmer had walked through the gates of Zamura’s Egg Farm. I had almost given up hope until I saw the first farmers arrive at 8:50am. By 9:30am, we had 33 farmers sitting in our audience.
This was my first real introduction to “African time.” Things don’t happen on time here, simply put. A set time is simply a general idea, and people do not stress if they are late. This continues to be challenging for me in my second week here. As a university student in the United States, I try my hardest to be early for everything. I am usually the first one sitting in all of my classes, and I am extremely anxious if I am more than a minute late.
I am adjusting, however. I am always on time for my work with Zamura, but I don’t worry if others are not on time. From my experience so far, plans are always carried out eventually.
Tracy and Odeth did an incredible job engaging the farmers throughout the training and getting them excited to learn about nutrition. We started the training out by introducing ourselves and the importance of nutrition. Then we asked the farmers for their definition of nutrition. I wished so badly I could understand Kinyarwanda as the farmers stood up one by one and stated their thoughts. Most of them say the words “ibiryo” and “imbaraga,” which I have learned mean “food” and “strength,” respectively.
I tried to contribute to the training as much as could with my limited Kinyarwanda. When we covered the “4 Colors” lesson, I talked about the color brown, which is protein. Tracy talked about the color green, which is immunity. Odeth talked about white, or energy. Patsy talked about orange and red, which are the colors that help our eyes. Either Tracy or Odeth translated our explanations.
The pilot farmers who came to our nutrition training on Wednesday morning are excellent examples of resiliency. Most of them walked for miles and miles to be present for our training. Some farmers even brought their spouses to attend. Several of the women walked there with babies on their backs.
It was an honor for me to meet these pilot farmers from Muhoza because they were the first people to start raising chickens with Zamura. It probably took a leap of faith for them to join the project and begin raising chickens, and they have been resilient in going through 8 cycles of chickens.