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The Rainmakers of Nganyi

Climate change is one of the most pervasive and threatening issues of our time, with far-reaching impacts in the twenty-first century. For generations, the Nganyi people of western Kenya have served as rainmakers, helping local communities decide when best to prepare their land and sow their seeds. By observing subtle changes in nature that would be unnoticeable to most people

For nine generations, communities from western Kenya have trusted one family to predict their local weather patterns.

The family is sworn to secrecy, and the powers they have are considered an honor by the community and are believed to be inherited

The family guides the communities on when to till their land, buy seeds and sow them

in a forest that is within an acre of land, the rainmakers have a secret shrine where they predict weather

under a tree, mzee obedi leads his team of three men to perform a task that the community entrusts them with

repeatedly blowing bubbles from a pot whose content they say are special herbs. this is their way of communicating with the rain gods

a few minutes later, they are silent and listening. voices made by birds and the blow of the wind is their way of communication.

And shortly we are briefed it's going to rain early in the evening that day.

The rainmakers have had first hand experience with climate change. having a responsibility to deliver to their community without fail has been a challenge by itself

The erratic weather caused by climate change has made the signs rainmakers need for their forecast opaque.

The Kenya Meteorological Department recognizes the responsibility and skills that the Nganyi indigenous rainmaker posses.

Besides establishing a modern day weather forecast substation. The government body has established a community radio station in the area broadcasting in the local dialect with a key interests in weather news-briefs from the area and across the country.

David - a scientific modern day weather forecaster is in charge of the substation working as an employee of the Kenya Meteorological Department

The rainmakers have embraced the introduction of the substation where they take their weather forecasts for comparison with the data from Kenya Meteorological Department and for broadcast to their community

Being a scientist, David does not subscribe to the beliefs and traditions of the rainmakers. He however points that their indigenous knowledge is combined/compared with daily data from the substation and mostly they tend to be equally accurate. The Kenya meteorological department also reckons that due to climate change conditions that have befallen the world, modern day weather forecast has been greatly affected as well.


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