Sowing seeds for the future
As we have already reported, the Afar are a pastoral people and traditionally do not farm. However, due to the increasingly long periods of drought, the Afar animals now have too little to eat and drink. This means that they hardly give any milk and hardly put on any weight, which in turn means that humans have too little food. The end result is malnutrition from infancy to old age.
Although APDA is primarily concerned with protecting the traditional way of life of the Afar, Maalika and her people still see a need for action here. With a great deal of sensitivity, they are now trying to teach these nomads new techniques and ways of life that will enable them to plant and cultivate different types of vegetables in the simplest possible way and with little water. A diet richer in vitamins would also strengthen the immune system and the Afar’s defenses.
Residents from remote areas come to APDA’s agricultural project for two training blocks of three months each. In the first block, they learn which irrigation systems are available. They are also shown which plants can grow on different soils and under different conditions. The second block also serves above all to exchange experiences and knowledge after the first practical self-experiments in one’s own living space.
It is important that the use of machines and tools is kept to a minimum so that people can continue to live nomadically and independently.
It’s nice to see that an exchange at eye level can also be a transfer of knowledge, without any Western know-it-all attitude or missionary work. From the Afar for the Afar!