Mkulima, you are finished. Your farm is no more!” Wakageorge said as he rushed into my farm panting.
“Why?” Without answering, he went on.
“I have always told you this man will kill you if he ever gets a chance. He will never forgive you.”
“Muchiri is now working at Mzee Jer- emiah’s farm and they are boasting that you will no longer enjoy the monopoly of city visitors coming to tour your farm,” he
added before I could even respond.
It dawned on me that Muchiri had been poached by my erstwhile rival, who is keen to see me go down.
Kabecha, the former treasurer who inci- dentally bumps into me when Wakageorge is around, passed by and found us talking. “Workers are free to go where they are paid better and work less,” Kabecha taunted me.
“What does Muchiri’s poaching has to do with you, Kabecha?” I asked. “Nothing really but Mzee Jeremiah has added him Sh1,000 and he will not be working on Sundays. He will also have fewer cows to deal with,” said Kabecha.
I suspected he had been sent by Mzee Jeremiah to ridicule me and add insult to injury.
“You need to retaliate immediately un- less you want to lose this war,” Wakageorge offered after Kabeacha left.
Last week, Mzee Jeremiah claimed that I was adding water in my milk and that I had promised several clerks at the cooperative that I will marry them so that they can hide my transgressions. This was all to discredit me.
What Mzee Jeremiah’s ilk, however, don’t understand is that the success of Mkulima Mixed Farm has little to do with Muchiri’s agri-intellect. His role has been manual and the real guy behind the success is me.
Just as Wakageorge was leaving, Adenya called me. I told him I was facing a crisis and that Muchiri had been poached by my rival, something that I thought only happens in big corporations.
As usual, he downplayed the impact of Muchiri’s departure. “Thank God that man is out of your farm. You will soon know he was a big impediment.”
Adenya has always held the thinking that untrained farm workers are expensive to a farm.
“I will refer you to a new institution that is training farm workers so that they can manage the farm as well as do the manual work,” he said.
Adenya informed me that it will be more expensive, though. “You will pay the institu- tion some fees and the worker will also be paid Sh10,000. But that one worker will be able to do work for two and in a more cost- effective manner. The unprofessional work- ers are a burden because you pay them less
but you lose in many ways like decline in production,” Adenya explained.
Last Thursday, I launched investigations and learnt that Muchiri has a new phone and a new number. He has been promised a motorbike on loan which he can use for extra income.
I am certain that it is Muchiri who cooked up the rumour that I was adding water to milk after word went round that my farm was now delivering more milk.
But like the story of the farmer’s don- key that fell in the abandoned well, I shall overcome all. I will not sit down and weep. Beginning Monday, I will make sure Adenya helps me identify a farm worker who can also double as a manager or supervisor.
I have also vowed that I will start working from the cooperative office where I will be working two days every week.