The Kenyan countryside remains quite poor by world standards, but life is different for most small farmers than it was 40 years ago. New irrigation systems have improved crop yields, better roads and communications have opened wider market possibilities, and new schools offer opportunities to children in these rural communities that their parents never had.
The Murithi family – who has a small farm in one of the more remote parts of Kenya – sees itself as a beneficiary of these changes. The father, Paul, 42, supports the family with his crop earnings. His wife Ruth, 35, recalls that she had no access to health clinics or schools as a child – in contrast to the facilities for young people in their community today. Today her children attend local schools and aspire to continue to university –a realistic dream for many academically-minded young Kenyans. Grandparents Gerald and Anna agree that life is far better for their grandchildren than it was for them: one measure of the dramatic changes they have experienced is the jump in Kenya’s literacy rate from just 36 percent in 1970 to 80 percent today.