Anton Wafula’s passion, commitment and skills shine through in all he does. As TKP’s tree farmer, he plays a critical role in laying the groundwork for a program that will help ensure the long-term sustainability of TKP’s Kenyan operations.
The farm, named Kumea Mizizi (Kiswahili for “planting deep roots”), is seven and a half acres and planted with E. grandis (eucalyptus trees). The trees are planted on a rotating basis so that a portion can be harvested each year, with the first harvest planned in 2021. The trees will be sold, creating a sustainable in-country revenue stream to offset the operational expenses of TKP’s schools and health programs.
Speaking with Anton, it’s easy to feel the excitement about the future of the farm. He spends his days monitoring the trees for signs of disease, maintaining the fence around the property, weeding the seedlings, and keeping up with the seedling nursery. He eagerly shares his devotion to the farm and details about its operations with visitors. Anton also supervises a maize crop that is used as part of the meal program at TKP schools and works with the team in the U.S. and Kenya to ensure the business plan for the farm is on-track.
“I’m proud of my job with TKP and of the farm,” says Anton with a shy grin. “When our farm grows and we sell the trees...the income will help the schools and the children in Kilgoris who need to go to school.”
Anton never attended school or learned to read and write. But, with the secure income from his job with TKP, Anton and his wife, Irene, send their children to school, something they are very proud of. He also takes care of a nephew and sends money to his parents and Irene’s parents every month. Like many families in Kilgoris, they face challenges, including difficulty getting clean water. The family works together to tend their kitchen garden, keep chickens, and care for one another.
With growing ambitions for the tree farm, including investments from other non-profits, we have big plans for the growing crop of trees. Anton and his family are true partners in TKP’s growth. They give selflessly and are focused on maintaining and developing the farm for the future of our seven schools in rural Kenya.