On the eve of becoming a successful Bongolander farmer

Saturday November 30 2019

 

By Danford Mpumilwa mpumilwa@gmail.com

The rains have begun pounding the recently dry and perched soils of Bongoland. And yes! A few months ago much of Bongoland hinterland was very much resembling some arid and semi-desert land in the neighbourhood of the mighty Sahara.

But lo! And behold. Recently the pregnant skies suddenly opened their gates and let out gushing waters and subsequent torrential rains to flood the vast plains and valleys of Bongoland again. I say ‘again’ because this an annual event.

And what followed were the usual setbacks which left me wondering, just like in the old American western song; “....Oh! When will they ever learn. Oh! When will they ever learn.

Where have all the young girls gone.

Gone to soldiers everyone.

Oh! When will they ever learn....”

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You see every year at this very same time the Met office, those weather experts, issue the same ominous forecast of the impending heavy rains which will pound several parts of Bongoland. These forecasts are followed by advice on the necessary precautions that ought to be taken to contain the situation.

On the other hand we, the Bongolanders, never even want to listen to these forecasts, let alone take the necessary precautions. At times I am forced to believe that we perhaps strongly believe that some miracle will save us from this impending disaster.

But no! The torrential rains catch us unprepared. Our wobbly homesteads, farms and produce and properties are washed away; roads and bridges collapse; our settled valleys turn into mini-lakes; most ground movement is stopped in its tracks; and more serious lives are lost, to mention just a few.

We immediately become very vocal. Vehemently complaining against this unjust nature and calling on our despised authorities to ‘do something.’

Naturally the authorities come up with the usual warnings and directives exhorting Bongolanders to evacuate settlements in valleys and re-settle on higher ridges; improve drainage systems and strengthen and secure their residencies, among others.

But then miracle of miracles! As soon as the rains abate, life immediately goes into its ‘normal’ mode. It is as if nothing, nothing at all has happened. The torrential rains and heavy floods might as well as have taken place in Mars, for that matter.

And know what? The same will definitely happen next year as it did last year. Nothing will change. We simply do not come up with a permanent solution to this weather hazard. Luckily we are not living in Iceland.

But then as the saying goes every cloud has a silver lining. To millions of other Bongolanders these rains are also a blessing because this is also the season for serious farming.

Verdant and fertile lands are cleared and harrowed, seeds of various crops planted in readiness for next year’s abundant harvests of maize, beans, peas, sorghum, millet, rice, potatoes, vegetables and many others.

I am joining the bandwagon. Last year, for the first time in my life, I acquired a two-acre farm at Tanilingwabati Village in Njombe Region. Feeling that I was a modern farmer ready to do some cash crop farming I planted sunflower on my farm.

But poor me, on account of my farming inexperience, I ended up with a very poor harvest and after processing my produce I got only two five-litre gallons of sunflower oil. It was indeed a major loss.

But then being stubborn as I am, I considered the loss as my farming tuition fees. No wonder this year I have increased my farming land to six acres.

On this sizeable farm of mine I am planting maize, beans, peas and sunflower. And I have decided to become an attentive listener and careful follower of the technical advice given by the local agricultural extension officers.

I believe I will, come next year, make a farming killing and naturally graduate from an experimental peasant into a rising successful Bongolander farmer.

I look into the heavens and as I see them opening their pregnant water gates, I do not see floods and other rain water disasters.

I see abundant opportunities. I see your humble self becoming a rich Bongolander farmer in the near future. And know what? I will keep you posted.