‘It’s time.” Brandon’s Grandmother tells him as he knocks on his bedroom door. The time is 3:45 a.m. Brandon stretches, puts on a coat and his gumboots. He reaches for his torch and goes outside. It’s chilly outside. They live in a village tucked deep in the heart of Limuru, one of the coldest places in Central Kenya. Him and his Grandmother embark on milking the cows and are done in 45 minutes.
On normal occasions, 4:30a.m is when they would have started his journey to the milk collection centre 20 minutes away. Owing to the curfew, they cannot leave home before 5a.m. Being a rainy season, the specific road to the collection centre. Brandon cannot use the farm pick up to ferry the milk. They have to walk. At 5a.m. they leave. They get back home in an hour.
Brandon’s Grandmother prepares porridge and arrowroots for breakfast. Meanwhile, Brandon is busy operating the chaff cutter machine preparing feeds for the livestock. He feeds the cattle, goats, pigs and chicken. He collects around 16 trays of eggs. By the time Brandon is done, his Grandmother is serving breakfast.
They take breakfast before proceeding to the farm at 8:00a.m. Tea has to be picked. There are a few casual labourers employed to help them with that. The tea picking takes about three and a half hours before the factory lorry arrives to collect the tea leaves from their farm and other adjacent farms. The tea leaves are measured and a record card is filled. Each of the casual labourers hired by Brandon’s Grandmother is paid according to the weight of the leaves picked.
Brandon and his Grandmother get back home. It is now 12:00 p.m. Brandon embarks on cleaning the cow shed, pig sty, goat’s pen and the chicken’s cages. He also ensures all the animals have clean drinking water. After this, they embark on milking the cows and taking the milk to the milk collection centre. By this time, the sun is shining. They get back and take lunch.
After lunch, Brandon takes 10 trays of eggs to a nearby hotel. A few of their neighbours buy the other eggs leaving just a few for their domestic consumption. He now takes the pick up to go get some Napier grass that had been cut the previous day from their other farm located on the other side of their village. As the Napier grass is being loaded, he goes round the farm and finds a banana stem with a whole bunch of bananas with some being ripe. Most of the ripe ones have been nibbed on by birds. He gets a panga, cuts the bunch and carries it. Him and the loaders sit down to eat some of the ripe ones after they finish loading and carries the rest home.
After the napier grass has been loaded, he heads back home. He is satisfied that it is enough to feed the cows for another week. 6p.m. it’s milking time. They again do so but this time, the road is passable and so Brandon uses the pickup to ferry the milk. By the time he gets back, it’s almost 7p.m. He feeds all the animals before taking a bath. Him and his Grandmother take supper. Brandon has not had a chance to look at his phone. He does so for about 30 minutes before retiring to bed.
This is his new daily routine since schools are closed due to the Corona Virus. The question remains, for how long?