My addiction to nature knows no bounds


By Peter Gichuki

My life traces its roots in a small village in Othaya, Nyeri County somewhere in Central Kenya surrounded by trees.

This idyllic rural setting laid the foundation for my love for agriculture. Then, we were one with nature and the scent of freshly tilled soil was my playground, shaping my connection to the land. One of my fondest childhood memories was the December coffee harvesting season.

It was a time when the whole family would gather on the farm to pick and sort through coffees beans, with an added perk of enjoying ripe bananas that hang from the banana trees.

What made it even more special was the chance to weigh ourselves on the coffee scales – pure joy! This turned a simple task into a lot of excitement for the younger me.

Even as I eventually moved into the city, the village remained a significant part of my life. School holidays meant returning to the familiar air of the farm where my hands felt most at home. I helped take care of my grandfather’s animals, and enjoyed climbing trees to eat fruits, which were always plentiful during the holidays.

Throughout my journey, there was one thing I was adamant about –corporate attire. Ties and suits seemed out of place in the fields, so was sitting behind a computer all day. Despite my initial resistance to computers, I gradually realized their indispensable role in modern agriculture. While I initially resisted computers, I came to appreciate their essential role in shaping the world of farming.

My love for agriculture evolved as I transitioned into adulthood, leading me to choose a path in Agricultural biotechnology, where the desire to understand and improve plant life and genetics intersected with technology. In 2020, I attended a week-long science communication workshop organized by the Alliance for Science. This birthed another passion in me – science communication.

I was convinced that what was previously considered a nuisance – speaking up – especially by my secondary school teachers, could be used for ‘good’.  I had been given the ability to bridge the gap between scientific jargon and practices and everyday understanding of science. I could now talk to more than just my family and friends about technologies such as GMOs and Gene editing by making them as easy as possible to understand.

With time, I have found myself spending more time behind a computer screen, analysing data and decoding genetic information. Despite not working on the farm as I had envisioned, I discovered a unique way to contribute to sustainable agriculture. The tie I had rejected might still be absent, but my work-space had shifted to a digital frontier.

Reflecting on my journey, I appreciate the unexpected paths life can take. From a childhood spent playing in the village to a career balancing the old ways of farming with the demands of modern technology. The village, with its memories and cultural roots, remains an integral part of who I am. As I bridge the gap between tradition and innovation, I find fulfillment in contributing to the evolution of agriculture while cherishing the enduring connection to my rural beginnings.

One Comment

1 comment

  • Collins
    February 15, 2024 Reply
    You're so hardworking brother. Your zeal is a dime to recon! Prost 🎉

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