Maurice and Josephine Simatei
Maurice is a youthful 70 year-old Mzee (old man), a wise farmer whose neighbors and fellow farmers respect as a mentor. He farms a small plot of land in the green, lush hills near Eldoret, in the northern Rift Valley region of Kenya.
When Maurice's father died in 1994, he inherited his family land, along with a very steep loan his father had taken out on the farm. Maurice could not repay the loan so the family was forced off their land. That same year, they lost all their livestock. Destitute and landless, Maurice and his family became squatters on government owned land.
In 1995, they started again, built a small hut and starting irrigating their tiny plot with a bucket. With the few crops they raised they saved enough money to buy a cow.
In 1999, Maurice saw a Super Money Maker Pump being used along the side of the main road into Eldoret, and he was amazed at how easily his fellow farmer was able to irrigate his crops.
He instantly realized that a MoneyMaker pump could change his life.
Maurice visited his local retailer where a KickStart salesman demonstrated the pump, and even brought it to his shamba (farm) so Maurice could show his wife Josephine who was using buckets to scoop and carry water from a stream to their crops. They were convinced to buy, seeing the potential to increase output and improve the quality of their crops.
Maurice sold the cow to buy the pump and, in addition to maize, began growing tomatoes, kale, and cabbage which all sell for a good price in his local market.
Prosperity came quickly. Within the first year, he was able to save enough of his earnings to buy a milling machine for grinding maize. Josephine sells the flour, a staple ingredient in the Kenyan diet. As his profits grew, he also bought an expensive motorized fuel pump to irrigate his crops. In 2005, he gave his pump to his brother-in-law to use in his tree nursery business. Although he now owns a petrol powered pump, Maurice plans to purchase another MoneyMaker pump the next crop season after he pays his children's school fees.
Maurice has become a leader in his community and an inspiration to his neighbors
The day we visited Maurice, nine other farmers gathered around to meet us. Three of them had already bought pumps because they saw Maurice's success. One neighbor told us his own success story. He too was a squatter irrigating with a bucket. But once he saw the success Maurice was having, he saved and bought a pump too. With the money he made with his pump, he was able to buy a tractor and trailer and now, in addition to farming, he has a transport business.
Toward the end of our visit, Maurice and Josephine insisted we come inside their home to rest. Josephine graciously served tea and chapatti (a traditional Kenyan flat bread). She said "The MoneyMaker Pump was a breakthrough for our whole family. We are so happy to meet the man, Dr. Fisher, who designed his pump!"
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