Thursday, August 25, 2011

Norma's Letter from Jos: 25 August 2011

Vegetable orders
August 25, 2011
From: Norma, Zamani Farms

Hello customers,

... next week only we will be delivering on Friday instead of Thursday. This is because of the public holidays for Eid el Fitri on Monday and Tuesday ...

The security situation in the rural areas around the farm is still not good. There were several attacks this past week. One of our workers lost his brother in such an attack, so work on the farm was delayed while the workers attended the burial. Our workers are living in a very insecure situation, and are often afraid to come through the bush to the farm, especially early in the morning when they are supposed to start work.

Despite the huge security presence all over the area (military task force, operation rainbow, local vigilante groups, etc. all of which are heavily armed) there is no peace here, and it obvious that no solution except a political one involving talks and reconciliation among the various groups can be successful. But this is not happening, unfortunately. We had hoped to be able to bring some of our former workers who are Fulani back to the farm, as we really miss their experience and dedication, but at this point it does not seem to be possible given the extreme hostility of the local community, so definitely our farm work is going to suffer, and we are very unhappy about it. They too are not happy because since last year they have been living as refugees in some villages in Bauchi, with nothing to do and no source of income except the little help we are in a position to render to them. Some of them had been working for us for over 10 years, and we feel we cannot just abandon them, but there is not much we can do for them in the present situation.
Meanwhile we are trying our best to get things moving on the farm. The weather has not been helping, as we have been having a lot of rain on a daily basis, with very overcast weather, and consequently not much sun which our vegetables desperately need ...

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