Powering Kenya

by Victoria Wangui Wanjohi

Former coffee farmers turned to dairy farmers; that is the new life of the people of Githunguri in recent years. This community are huge entrepreneurs in the Dairy industry with the well-known Githunguri Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society, “Fresha” being their product. The farmers in this area have benefited from developments in agricultural technology and electrification in their homes making life much easier and beneficial to a community.

For my grandmother, being an example of what I have seen through the advent of electricity, life did change for her and many others for the better. My cucu, at seventy six years, has proven that there is always a lot of time within the 24 hours a day we are given to do so much. She, for one, has woken up for more than 50 years at 4 Am to milk her cows. Well, this was not easy before she got connected to the national grid. Before, she mostly relied on kerosene lamps and torches and to some extent the moon’s light. Despite these challenges, she did not stop at any one point to not milk her cows during odd hours.

For most of us we would think, ‘Why would I wake up at 4 Am to milk cows, I could do that later’ right! But for her it is an activity she has gotten accustomed to over the years and she shows no signs of stopping. Her first born daughter’s has given her ten additional years to keep doing what she does.

Since her connection to electricity she is able to calmly wake up at the odd hour and milk her cows. I believe electricity might have well, and will, prolong her life on this earth. Being quite of age, her eyesight is not that good and the kerosene lamps and torches didn’t do much, but now with electricity, she can continue doing what she enjoys.

Cucu’s connection to the national grid did not just pose an advantage to milking her cows, but it also enabled her to get easy access to water from the neighbourhood electrical pumped borehole. This ensures that she doesn’t have to use her limited energy to draw water from the well and also adds her more time to catch up on local news in the afternoon.

Cucu’s cows are moreover well feed with the availability of an electrical machine that cuts her napier grass for her. This makes it life easier for her as she ages and her cows are happily fed daily.

This story is not only related to my grandmother, but to the many women, young and old, of Mbari-ya-Igi Sub- location, Githunguri who are shareholders of the Githunguri Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society.

Every day as I consume a product of the co-operative, I know that even though it may be just one drop, of milk from my cucu’s cows, milked at four in the morning, I am grateful to Kenya Power for powering Kenya.