Impressions of East Africa

This trip to Eastern Africa is my 4th to the continent, and I'm seeing new things every time.

The first trip was a bit of a culture shock, everything new. What can I eat? Where do I shop? How do I get around?

Most disconcerting of all was the kids and people casually walking along the edge of the main road whilst you speed past at 120km/h.

A bit more relaxed now, I’ve got used to the road laws, and what I appreciate most is the generosity and warmth of the people we meet.

I’m here shooting interviews for a video on the Conservation Agriculture Regional Programme (more on that later). These guys are the remote rural farmers of Africa, most of the continent is covered with them. They have small plots of land and live a subsistence lifestyle.

The stories we are capturing are of transformations in lifestyle, many people whom would struggle to feed their families are now food secure and have surplus to sell. They can pay school fees, medical bills and purchase things such as solar lighting, furniture and livestock.

Even so, by our standards they are living in poverty, many don't have shoes, there is no running water or electricity.

I can't pretend to really understand the culture here, or what life is really like for the farmers we meet. But working in a foreign country is a special experience, and you meet people whom as a tourist you would only drive by. This is my favourite thing about travelling for work, for you meet people whom are untainted by tourist expectations.

For example we interviewed a woman selling avacados in mountainous Ruwengwe, Tanzania wouldn’t let me pay when I wanted to buy some, as we were her guests.

Or the joyous welcome of singing when we arrived at villages in Malawi.


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