Monica selling her crop of Roselle

Personal stories: How Monica went from water carrier to Roselle producer

We first met Monica at the Kisumu Regional Show. REAP used to have a stand at the Kisumu Regional Show and Monica helped us by carrying water. She helped us as we prepared for the show and throughout the seven days of the show. She took an interest in what we were planting and teaching.

Since then she has been successfully growing some of the new plants we have introduced to the area including Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). 

When we needed some for people who had ordered it in Nairobi, we contacted her, and she brought us a good quantity for sale from her own farm.  She measures it by volume, using a one litre tin as commonly used in the market. 

We want to recognise her diligence in keeping the seed from year to year and continuing to recognise the value of this plant by growing it on her own farm.  Monica had good quality seed to sell.

She has picked up something we have mentioned but have not seen many others do.  She roasts and grinds the seed to make a coffee substitute that certainly smells good!

Monica selling her crop of Roselle
Photo of Roselle

Roselle is a bushy plant, growing to about 1 metre tall. It is native to Sudan and West Africa.  It grows well in hot conditions and will tolerate relatively poor soil conditions.   

It is grown mainly for its red acid succulent calyces that are made into a drink, taken either hot or cold.  The tea is pleasant and refreshing, detoxifies the body and helps remove dead disease organisms and toxins from the body (cleans the blood). 

It is a mild sedative and therefore good for reducing stress and helping ensure good sleep.  When people are sick it is important that they take enough fluid and Roselle tea is a good way of ensuring sick people drink enough.  The tea can also be made from Roselle mixed with Lemon Grass for added flavour and medicinal benefit.

To find out more about Roselle and it’s uses, click here