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One a day Live

Watch: Cork farmer drinks cow's blood as she lives with Kenyan Tribe on RTÉ's Hardest Harvest

Cork dairy farmer Paula Hynes finds herself drinking blood drawn straight from the cow while living with the Maasai tribe in Kenya on RTÉ 's The Hardest Harvest tonight.

The blood is a key source of nutrition for the Maasai, who must keep their animals alive to survive.

The Hardest Harvest is a new three-part series starting tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One, following an Irish farmer, forester and fisherman as they travel to the harshest of environments in some of the world's poorest countries to live off the land and sea using nothing but their bare hands and basic tools.

They must learn to cope with the gruelling day-to-day reality of subsistence living and the struggle to survive in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the first episode, dairy farmer Paula Hynes, from Aherla in Cork, leaves her state of the art milking parlour behind for the drought-stricken plains of southern Kenya and life amongst a remote Maasai tribe who battle daily to keep animals and community alive.

Paula is in her late 30s and lives for her cows and her young family. She is a self-confessed travelphobe, having only been away once in the last 16 years – and that was for her honeymoon.

She has an intimate connection with her cows, her ‘girls’ as she calls them, and she can recognise and name each of her 150-strong herd on sight.

That passion, and the use of top-flight technology and machinery, has made her a leading dairy farmer despite only coming into farming in the past six years. Alongside her husband, Peter, she won the Zurich/Irish Independent Farmer of the Year title in 2016.

But will her experience help or hinder her as she attempts to live and work with a tribe of Maasai in remote southern Kenya? Amidst a severe drought, will Paula’s dairy skills be of any use with the dehydrated cattle of the Maasai’s dwindling herd?

And how will an Irishwoman who has never even been to Dublin Airport deal with the dislocation and shock of travelling seven thousand kilometres to sub-Saharan Africa to live in a house which she herself must construct out of mud?

The Maasai tribe, who Paula goes to live with for two and a half weeks, are nomadic pastoralists; they, like their ancestors, have been grazing cows across the plains of east Africa for thousands of years. But their way of life is under threat from devastating drought: as their cattle die, the Maasai are left ever more vulnerable.

Can determined and driven Paula cope with the poverty and hardship of subsistence farming and survive the devastating reality of climate change itself? Will she be accepted into a deeply conservative community where women have pre-determined roles and responsibilities?

The Hardest Harvest starts tonight, Wednesday, May 2nd on RTÉ One at 9.35pm