Sia Kambou/Stringer

Как помочь людям в «пыльном котле» Африки

СИЭТЛ – Представьте себе маленькую ферму под раскалённым небом. Сильная засуха поразила окрестные земли, перспективы на урожай мрачные, а финансовая система не способна помочь фермерам кредитами, чтобы они свели концы с концами. Этот сценарий описывает сегодняшнюю южную Африку, которая охвачена засухой эпических масштабов. И он же описывает восточную Небраску в годы «Пыльного котла» в начале 1930-х – в этот период там жила моя семья.

Мой отец Ральф Рейкс первым в семье получил диплом вуза. Поработав на Standard Oil в Калифорнии, он остановился на ферме родителей по пути в Кембридж (штат Массачусетс), где собирался продолжить обучение в МИТ. Но он так туда и не доехал. Ему пришлось остаться в Небраске, чтобы помочь моему дедушке спасти семейную ферму от банков, уже изъявших за долги треть земельного участка.

Самым важным изменением, совершённым моим отцом, стало изменение менталитета: он начал воспринимать ферму не как хозяйство, которое ведётся ради выживания, а как семейный бизнес. Он обратился в Университет Небраски (где получил степень бакалавра), чтобы ему прислали семена гибридной кукурузы и другие улучшенные сорта, которые создавались в этом университете. Затем он стал вести учёт проводимых сельхозработ и погодных условий, что редко делалось в то время.

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