A Farmer at Heart

19 March 2019 | Inside Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

Sowing and growing, seeding and weeding – it’s all in a day’s work for Shamba Keeper, Naliki

I rise at 6am sharp in time for breakfast – bread, bananas, two cups of tea and sometimes eggs. I talk with my colleagues and we enjoy some time together. I also discuss the day ahead with the other Shamba Keepers so that we can work together as a team.

Naliki and chef

At around 6:30 I go to the kitchen to see what the chefs need. I then take my baskets and list and head to the Shamba to pick everything needed in the kitchen for the day. Today, it’s wild rocket, pumpkin, courgettes, eggplants and lettuce – three baskets full! I wash everything and call for the baskets to be collected and delivered to the kitchen.

Naliki with produce for kitchen

By 8am, my work in the Shamba begins. First I set up the sprinkler to water the garden before it gets too hot. I water two zones only – the greenhouse and the corners of the Shamba are done by hand, the rest is watered by the sprinkler. The water is pumped from our dam into the small Shamba pools and we then use this for watering.

Naliki watering

Naliki watering in greenhouse

Watering is my favourite task in the Shamba. I feel like all the plants are looking to me for water like children look to their mother for food. And I am providing them with the nourishment they need to survive another hot day in the Mara.

Naliki and chickens 2

Afterwards, it’s time to feed the chickens. I like them very much because they have started producing eggs for us and I am a farmer at heart. Every week we rotate the chicken coop which requires the whole R&M team to come and assist me in lifting it and moving it to a new area for the chickens to work the soil. They make the best manure. Then I prepare the newly worked soil for companion planting.

Naliki Weeding

From 10:30 until 12pm I do the weeding. I focus on one zone at a time, changing to a different one each day.

Guests often come for Shamba lunch between 12pm and 2pm, so we stop everything during this time to take them on a tour of our beautiful vegetable garden and show them what is ready for picking. Sometimes the guest is happy doing the picking and cutting, otherwise we do this for them before washing the items and preparing a delicious salad for their lunch. I enjoy interacting with guests to share ideas and expand my knowledge.

Naliki with basket

We never leave the Shamba in case a guest comes to see it and also to protect it against any visiting animals. This means my colleagues and I have to take turns to go for lunch. Today I go at about 2:30pm. I like rice and beans for lunch. Ugali makes me too sleepy, so I save this for the evening meal. Between 3pm and 4pm I rest, as this is the hottest time of day in the Shamba.

Naliki planting veg

At 4pm, I set up the sprinklers again to water the remaining zones. I must communicate to the security team to turn the sprinklers off by 8pm. Then it’s time for planting and more watering by hand. Today I’m planting celery and variety lettuces in Zone 2. My day ends at 6pm unless there are any special tasks that require my attention, like the beehives which I harvest during the flowering season.

Naliki Beekeeping outfit

After my work day comes to an end, I take a shower and then go looking for dinner. No socialising for me as I am very tired after a long day’s work in the Shamba.

Before bed, I call home to check on my cattle and my family. My cattle are my “bank”. I have 60 cattle and 150 sheep. I employ someone to look after them while I am at work. My sheep pay for school fees – they paid for mine and now pay for my children too. I am very happy with my sheep – they have educated me.

AUTHOR: William Naliki Olais Lemeyian

Naliki was born and raised in an area overlooking the Mara Triangle and his home community neighbours on the reserve. He has been a part of the Angama Team since its inception where he began in a role as a landscape gardener, before moving to the Shamba. He has 4 children and is the proud owner of numerous cattle and sheep.

Lars van Dorsselaer
March 19, 2019

I had the privilege to be guided through the Angama shamba by Naliki. The broad knowledge of gardening and farming that Naliki shared and the passion he does his work with, is very inspiring.

    Nicky Fitzgerald
    March 20, 2019

    Thank for this lovely post, Lars, and delighted to hear you enjoyed your time in the Shamba with Naliki

Peter and bunny
March 19, 2019

Dear Naliki
We loved your blog on your day in the shamba. We think of our time there with you very often. Our lovely lunch and then weeding with you. Love
Bunny and peter

    Nicky Fitzgerald
    March 20, 2019

    Dear Peter and Bunny

    Thank you for starting a new trend of getting our guests to weed our Shamba. We are tickled pink. We have also now invested in sets of gardening tools, gardening gloves and kneeling pads for guests. Who would have thought?

    Warm regards

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