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Losing the Rural Way of Life

Sonal Shah | East Africa (Kenya Uganda Tanzania)

During the drought of 2017, it was not uncommon to see lorries bringing supplies to rural areas. This is one such famine relief drive in Machakos County, Central Kenya.

Life in rural East Africa is all about community. But more and more young people move to towns and their children are looked after by grandmothers - the large communities with the elders running small villages are disintegrating. So is the community feel, where people sit and talk to each other. Instead life has become about what the town can offer. The grandparents however have their place in the rural life: many carry on with the farming and bring produce to the local vegetable market (often carrying the weight of the produce) and carry on despite the hardships the young are fleeing. Firewood is still used cooking and heating water many have to go further afield to find wood due to encroaching towns and clearing of trees. Roads are rudimentary and recent heavy rains have made many impassable. Rubbish can be left to accumulate in the communal areas. Electricity is slowly making its way across many rural areas but many shops are forced to take their power from the one source coming in. What will urbanisation do to the social fabric in the rural areas as the young move away?

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