Most of the people in my hometown of Loitokitok are farmers - mainly beans and maize. This includes my grandmother and my uncle - my uncle also grows some coffee and my grandfather has his cows and goats. Due to the hot and dry weather, the beans were ready to be harvested earlier than usual. And since I was staying home well into January (for the first time since I can remember, since when I was younger I would already be back in school), I was around for the beans harvest. That's how beans look before they land on your plate or in the can in the supermarket. In the background is the maize crop, which is still on the farm. The same farm a few days later: After being picked, the beans are put together in a heap and beaten using sticks - to get the beans out of their pods. The people go round in circles, beating the heap till it's flat.
Instead of the manual beating of the beans, some people prefer to drive over them with a tractor. In this case, the beans are laid out on a big canvas and the tractor drives around in circles and back & forth.
For it to be efficient, the beating of the beans using a tractor needs you to pick more beans than the manual beating. My uncle prefers the tractor method and works with 80+ people picking the beans. 80+ people require a lot of supervision - something some people are not able / prepared to deal with. My grandmother prefers the manual beating and works with about 15 - 20 people per day.Don't worry, I just didn't go to the farm to take pictures of people working. I also did some work - though I admit not as much as the others. I was helping my grandmother with the driving. I would first do one trip to take the greens home - for the dairy cows (they don't go out to graze). I would then go back to the farm and pick up the beans that were harvested - packed in bags. I also sometimes helped out with the unloading of the car / tractor. My duty as a driver didn't include the driving of the tractor. But one day my uncle asked me whether I wanted to try and park the tractor and trailer into their shed - I happily obliged. That is when I sweated the most!! Backing-up a trailer into a parking slot isn't easy...The harvesting of the beans is now done. What's left on the farms now is the maize. If all goes well, the maize should be ready for harvesting some time in March/April. Unfortunately, that'a a pretty big IF. Obviously the rains are a worry. In Loitokitok farmers are fighting to protect their farms from monkeys, warthogs and elephants. It's not very clear, but above is a footprint of an elephant which had invaded my grandmother's farm just before I left.