Where tractors take a shower before heading to the farm

On an early morning, when most of us head to the bathroom to ready ourselves to go to work, a different category of “workers” are driven to the showers and cleaned up in unison before heading to the farm. Yes, they report to the ‘shamba’ spotlessly clean, gleaming in the sunlight free of any dirt or dust particles that they might have collected the previous day.
Never mind that they will spend the day hauling boulders of soil or blowing clouds of dust as they are driven through this expansive farm in Uasin Gishu County.
These are the tractors of Komool Farm in Soy, whose cleaning has become a daily ritual. No other activity begins before their glass and body parts are sparkling clean. It is an enduring practice adopted by Mr George Kili, a prominent farmer in the North Rift region.
This three-decades-old trend has also been fully embraced by the farmer’s children and indications are that it will be passed on to future generations. It is also something that tens of workers at Komool Farm are used to.
Every morning when they assemble at the farm a few minutes to 7.30am, every tractor driver and his assistant go into the farm store where the tractors are usually parked overnight, start and drive them to the yard. At the yard are water taps, water reservoirs, pipes and air compressors.
There is also a clothes’ line with some clean dry towels. These are all meant for the daily cleaning routine, which commences with the dusting of the machines using an air gun, whose nozzle is directed at all the air inlets around the dashboard, the engine compartment and the air filters.
For major dusting, high pressure pipes connected to the air compressor help to blow the dust out of every hidden corner. Next, water mixed with detergents and a soft towel is used to clean the glass windows. As the driver does this, his assistant follows him with a dry towel, wiping away every drop.
Once this is done, the six machines that range between light and dark green to orange and with horsepower of 90 to 300 are left for a few minutes to dry in the sun before being refuelled and greased.
Meeting Mr Kili on the farm, his sharp sense of neatness is telling. One would mistake him for a blue chip company CEO. On this particular day, he wore a well-pressed short-sleeved shirt and trousers. His son donned a designer shirt and short trousers.
The day had just begun and father and son were ready to head to the family farm. As he welcomed the Smart Farmer team, the farmer revealed that cleaning tractors is something that he has been doing almost religiously since he purchased his first one in the 1970s. With no piped water on the farm then, he used to take the tractor to the nearest river for a thorough wash before driving it to the farm.
“It is something I started, loved and over the years, it has become a routine. One would ask, ‘What is the purpose of washing a machine synonymous with dirt and dust evert morning?’ I will tell you, it does come with several benefits,” he said.
According to his son, Felix, “it is a way of giving the tractors a fresh start for the day. In the evenings, the workers will be tired and might not do it thoroughly,” explains the mechanical engineering graduate, who manages the farm’s machinery section. He says they sometimes work until late in the evenings and it is advisable to service and fuel the machines in the mornings.
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