RTÉ documentary to show harsh re­al­i­ties of life on a Kenyan farm

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CLAIRE FOX

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

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