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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘I have the utmost regard for farmers everywhere’ – self-confessed Cork City girl

Read part two here on www.thatsfarming.com of an interview with Denise Kelleher, Cork City, who reflects on her time experiencing the agricultural way of life in Kenya in the first of a two-part interview.

Before delving into part two, you can read part one of the self-confessed city girl’s piece via this link.

In this piece, she recalls another memory – when, with John and Salim, two Kenyan staff members of Brighter Communities Worldwide, they were returning from a program where they had planted trees around a water spring in honour of World Environment Day.

They were talking about staple foods at the time, and Denise mentioned how important potatoes are to Ireland even though she had never seen them harvested.

“John and Salim could not believe this, so they insisted I visit John’s potato farm, even though we were already running behind schedule.”

“The fact that John’s wife, daughters, and granddaughters were all in the field harvesting potatoes with this big shovel thing was amazing.”

“They persuaded me to try harvesting some myself, and my God, was it challenging.”

“People in the field probably thought it was funny to see this woman struggling to harvest potatoes.”

“However, afterwards, I was quite pleased with myself and felt like a proper farmer.”
“John even tried to offer the potatoes I had harvested, but we were leaving for home so soon that we would never be able to finish them,” she added.

By the end of the second week, she felt like she knew a lot more about agriculture and the commitment it needs.

Experiences

However, she is of the view that there is always more to learn, and every day she saw something new grow.

“One day, we were out, and I had been shouting to everyone that ‘the cow with the horns was going to charge at me’ when what I actually saw was a bull, not a cow.”

“I was also invited to a staff member’s house where there were several farm animals.”

“I like the farm life there and even got to watch coffee beans grow. But as a chicken started fluttering about the table, I became a little afraid to touch it but did my best to get a picture with it.”

She is grateful for everything she earnt in Kenya, especially in agriculture, because, she continued, it is hard work, and people’s livelihoods depend on factors like the weather that are out of their control.

“I have the utmost regard for farmers everywhere, and now that I am back home, I cannot wait to learn more about Irish farms! I am a convert,” she added.

The BIG Walk

Denise is helping Brighter Communities Worldwide to highlight The BIG walk, an inaugural Cork to Kenya fundraising walk to raise much-needed resources.

She continued: “My trip to Kenya brought home to me the incredible work that Brighter Communities Worldwide does and has been doing for the past 20 years.”

“They really make the money work for the people they work with.”

“Nothing is wasted, and this new fundraising initiative is one that all people in Ireland can get behind. We love walking, and we are lucky that, in the main, we choose to walk for fitness, for health and for fun.”

Kenya

However, it is a different story in Kenya, where walking is the main mode of travel for so many people in Kericho County in Kenya who have to travel vast distances to access clean water.

The only way the majority of communities Brighter Communities Worldwide works with can get water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning is to collect from ponds, streams and rivers that are contaminated with diseases like cholera and typhoid.

“I am hoping that this will resonate with people in Ireland to get behind our challenge. Participants will choose where they want to walk, count the kms they cover and hopefully together, they will reach 10,000km.”

“The fact that people can track the distances on the virtual map is brilliant; it makes it so real.”

“It is a novel challenge and one that people of all ages and all fitness levels can get behind.”

“People love to walk, and it can be a challenge that one can do alone or even better with friends, work colleagues, running groups, walking groups,” she concluded.

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