Updated: Jun 10, 2018
Credit: Captureworld Photography (Smallholder Farmer)
Hello, my name is Munya. This initial blog post will hopefully put across the reasons why I quit my job, sold my car, sold my house, moved to a country I have no connection to and decided to become a farmer even though I have no past experience in it. What if in living your life you could improve the life of those around you, what if every time you purchased something you significantly improved someone else’s wellbeing, what if...
everything we have been told our whole life’s about careers and work does not always equate to the happiness that was promised
You know we all have our own perception of what enjoying life truly means, and because of that I nor anyone else can impose the best way of living on to someone else. I had a comfortable life, I lived in a beautiful city (Leamington Spa picture of the view I used to have below), had great people around me and worked for a great company. However over time I wondered if there was a different way to live, and
realised that many people who were around me ask the same questions. The funny thing is we all came up with reasons as to why the path we had chosen to take was the best possible option whether it is I have a family to support, I need to support my parents in the future, I need to buy a house etc These are all valid reasons, as you speak to more people you realise that everything we have been told our whole life’s about careers and work does not always equate to the happiness that was promised. Keeping in mind happiness is all about perspective. I am fortunate to have family and friends that push me to be more than I am, had the opportunity to converse and debate with people who have vastly different experiences to me which has opened my eyes to other possibilities. The notion of a work life balance implying that work is not your life, I think this true for the individual who wants to clock in and out. This is perfectly fine, as mentioned earlier no ones life has to conform to the ideas of another. We are all made up of millions of different interaction which have brought us to where we are today. So the question I asked myself over a year ago is what if there was only life, you just lived and in doing so you made a living, whilst doing that you brought joy to those around you. Fortunately at the time my father had a business idea that had been waiting for an opportunity (his blog post in the coming weeks will cover the details), by merging his business idea with a concept I had worked on with two friends. I think we might just get somewhere in the just living life.
"I never go into any village thinking I know any better, I live there learn the culture do as they do."
I am not naive as to the way of the world, hence using a business to transform how I live. What I am saying has been done by many people, what is challenging about what I hope to undertake is the enriching of others. At the same time I am conflicted as what I envisage as enriching someone’s life could be the opposite for the person (I recommend reading this blog post that explores how different all our point of views are http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/were-all-out-of-touch/) . It begs the question am I doing this for myself or for others, I guess there is some part of me that will feel rewarded by engaging in this which is probably a little selfish if I am honest with myself. However to counteract that I will do as a Korean missionary once told me, “I never go into any village thinking I know any better, I live there learn the culture do as they do. Only once I understand what it is they want and how they wish to live do I suggest things that could improve their lives, leaving the decision to them”. I think this approach is good, not coming from a place of all knowing. Hence doing something I know absolutely nothing about as I have no preconceptions as to what or how things should be done. However I and my partners will rely on experts to help us with what not to do. I am reminded of a quote from Manoj Bhargava founder of the 5-hour energy drink “Do you have a background in the area, no that only messes you up, because most inventions have been made by people that didn't have a background in what they were inventing. Throughout history the great stuff was made by people that didn't follow the rules of experts, experts are great at telling you what you shouldn't do and for that they are useful. But what you should do they do not have a clue”. Not to discredit experts, this is more about showing that there are other ways of doing things and not having and preconceptions can be an advantage. I am aware that all of this could simply be confirmation bias as I write about something I have already decided to commit the next phase of my life to.
The thing is if you really care about something or someone you should be willing to do something about it,
The picture at the very top of this post is and image of a smallholder farmer, she has 2.5 hectors on average roughly 2.5 rugby fields. She works hard and yet does not yield 40% of what her land is capable of producing. What she does manage to yield varies in quality and size. From having met and interviewed her, I would not say she was unhappy in fact she was happier than most of the people I met whilst living in Leamington Spa. What she wanted was a more efficient way of living one that made her life easier as her work and life were the same thing. By easier I mean fair access to markets and tools to aid in working the land. She did not want a hand out in fact she lived (worked) hard and was willing to live (work) hard for an “easier life”. Why are such simple things so far out of her reach? It’s not for her lack of trying, in life your zip code or postcode really does give you a head start (this is a subject for another day). We asked her for input into the concept we are working on and she was pleased with it, as she could see how in time it would make life easier (this is one form of enriching someone’s life). This was two years ago when it was an idea that we hoped someone would take forward or we would work on part time. The thing is if you really care about something or someone you should be willing to do something about it, this is another reason for me taking this leap. One of the main takeaways is that if you truly take time listening to understand others not just to respond to them, you will gain a depth of knowledge to hopefully help enrich a life if it is required. This is what I hope to do and farming is the tool I wish to use to do it through. As there are millions of smallholder farmers in Sub-Sahara Africa who might just benefit from this project. A song by Witt Lowery resonated with me as it expresses some of the emotions I felt over the past year or so, that is probably more due to being a millennial, take a listen. “Dreaming with our eyes open” “We believe we can be anything and I want to be me” that last line from this song is what I hope to show that you can live a life that takes a path not previously prescribed. In doing so you can also help others to enrich their lives as they choose. My final quote from a friend: “Be ambitious with your life not your work” Enric Canal Garcia So what is it that I will actually be doing, check out our first episode from our youtube channel which will be realtime:
Next blog will be from one of my business partners who happens to be my father “The Journey So Far”