RTÉ documentary to show harsh realities of life on a Kenyan farm
A 40KM hike through drought conditions to the nearest mart and hunting animals with spears are just some of the tasks that dairy farmer Paula Hynes tackles as part of her stay with a traditional Masai tribe.
The experience will air in The Hardest Harvest on RTÉ One tomorrow night at 9.35pm. The show sees Paula leave the comforts of the farm in Aherla, Co Cork, where she lives with her husband Peter and three daughters, to stay with a farming community in Kenya. They have risen to prominence as the Zurich Farm Insurance Farming Independent Farmer of the Year. For Paula one of the most difficult parts of the stay was watching cows roam for hours across the barren landscape looking for something to eat.
“We’d milk the cows and they’d be out grazing from 8am to 4pm grazing whatever they could find. It looked like weeds to me they’d be grazing. They were skin and bones and the cow was sacred to them so they would never bring a vet out or anything. It broke my heart,” she says.
Throughout the stay Paula had to build her own house, hunt wild animals, travel miles for water and cook meals for the tribe.
She says bringing a cow to the mart was one of the highlights. “It was a 36km hike through the desert to the mart so I was hoping the cow wouldn’t die along the way because they’d be so weak,” she says of the life changing trip.
“I’m definitely more appreciative of what I have now. I saw the harsh reality out there. Most of their cows had died because there hadn’t been rain in three years I don’t know how they do it. They’re such a friendly community but have it so tough. I really want to go back there some day.”
Paula Hynes with a cow suffering in the drought in Kenya on the RTÉ