(ERGO) – The first few days of farming in Kismayo, Raliyo Ibrahim Abdi’s hands kept blistering because she was not used to this type of manual work. She spent her life raising livestock in a rural area, but losing all her animals in the drought forced her to take on other jobs.
Raliyo, a divorced mother of eight children from Sakow, Lower Juba, is among 72 displaced pastoralist and farming families in the New Bulla-guduud camp on the outskirts of Kismayo, who lost all their assets in the drought and now work on farms 30 km . north of the city to make ends meet.
She arrived at the camp last December after losing 30 goats and 20 cows. Interviewed in the third week of her work, she said she earned three dollars a day on the farms, allowing the family to eat three meals a day while previously lucky enough to get only one.
“I was looking for laundry in the beginning, but I did not find any women who needed my services. Then I heard about women working on farms and I followed them even though I had no skills or knowledge of agriculture. bad situation we are in now and with the father of my children who have left us made me brave enough to try this hard work, ”Raliyo told Radio Ergo.
Now that she has something to feed her children, what worries her most is the flimsy shelter they live in. She asked the Somali federal government and aid organizations to build them a decent home.
“What we are missing now is a house, as we do not have one, and we also need toilets. My kids sleep under this bad structure that I made myself. It gives us no protection from the sun or from the cold during the night, ”she lamented.
Mohamed Hussein Addow, another internally displaced person in the New Bulla-guduud camp, said he was paid two dollars for every hectare he plants on local farms. He was used to planting his own farm back where he came from.
“We go to the farms every morning and as soon as we arrive at the farms, we start cultivating and planting all day until 4pm when we come back. Occasionally we get short breaks for lunch and prayer,” he said.
Mohamed and his family of six arrived at the New Bulla-guduud camp last December from Jamame in Lower Juba, where he owned an eight-acre rain-fed farm.
Mohamed left the country after three failed rainy seasons made him unable to plant anything. He tried and did not get a job in construction or loading vehicles. He is grateful that the work on other people’s farms can at least enable him to provide for his family with two meals a day.
The village commissioner of Bulla-guduud, Mohamud Abdullah, himself a local farmer, said that having access to workers among internally displaced persons was also a blessing for the peasants who had difficulty finding labor. He even employs some of the displaced on his own farm.
“Most of them are shepherds, they used to depend on animals, all of which perished in the prolonged drought. Circumstances have forced them to turn to the farms to survive. With the first drops of rain, we have already started planting , ”Said the village commissioner.
The rain started in mid-April in Bulla-guduud and surroundings, which allowed the farmers to start cultivating. Their last harvest was in January, after which the river dried up. Now the river has water and they are hoping for another harvest.