This trip more than any other taught me about the strong ties these people have with maize (corn).
Rough timber silos were filled with dried husks and stalks that had turned a pale brown from the sun. Every home on the hillside had one. I have not paid much attention to them in the past, this trip was different. There was lots of discussion about the price of corn being low. Higher of course in the city yet still low for the time of year.
The small plots of land surrounding the houses were being prepared for planting. Few people use animals for this work, they can’t afford them. It is for human hands to do. Any patch of land was being tilled, no field too small, beside a house, along a road or path. The rainy season was coming in March.
The corn would feed the people and the animals.
The people will eat what they can when it is fresh. Then the kernels are dried. They can be ground into corn flour. The flour becomes a staple of the diet, ugali (Uh-gal-ee). Or the kernels are soaked to rehydrate them for meals.
The animals live on the husks and stalks waiting for the rainy season again. The rain brings the grasses for a change to grazing again.
The price of corn was not a big concern for the women as most had their own sags of corn. Only our wholesaler Praxsede was really concerned. She was hedging her inventory on a price increase in the coming weeks.