Sia Kambou/Stringer

如何帮助非洲尘暴区

西雅图——想象一下炎热的天空下有一家小农场。严重的干旱影响着周围地区,下一次收成前景十分暗淡,而金融系统却不具备为农民提供应急贷款的能力。这副景象描绘的是今天的南部非洲,这里正在遭受一场历史性干旱的侵袭。这碰巧也是内布拉斯加州东部二十世纪三十年代初“尘暴”天气的写照——这是我和家人的亲身经历。

我的父亲拉尔夫·莱克斯是家族大学毕业的第一人。毕业后,他先在加利福尼亚标准石油公司就职,而后在他父母的农场中途停留,打算之后前往马萨诸塞州剑桥市攻读麻省理工学院的研究生学位。他没能实现这个愿望。他被迫留在了内布拉斯加,帮助我的祖父挽救家庭农场免于被银行收回,当时银行已经收回了三分之一的土地。

我父亲最重要的改变在于心态:他没有把农场视作维持生计的小本经营,而是视作家族生意。他求助于自己本科毕业的内布拉斯加大学,从那里拿到了这所大学正在研发的杂交玉米和其他改良种子。而后他严密监控投入的生产资料及天气条件,这在当时是非常罕见的。

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