Wednesday, July 17th– Farm work!
Today I was able to accompany Mama and Titus to one of Mama’s farms. The farm is about 25 by 50 meters; 75 by 150 feet. From 8-11 we worked harvesting corn, which entailed breaking the corn off the stalk and then breaking the stalk in half to show that we have already been to that one. By the end I was soaking wet from all of the water in the crops! It was pretty enjoyable work because unlike farming in California the day was cloudy and I didn’t have to bend over to do the work! The locals were pretty surprised to see a white girl getting dirty working in a farm; they stared even more than usual when walking by. One woman told Mama in Pigeon that it was good that she was teaching the white man how to work, so that I can go back to America and teach all the other white men how to work :p Another man told Mama that she will give me to him as a wife… I wonder if these individuals know that I can understand them when they make these comments!
Thursday, July 18th– Last day in the Mboro community
To be honest, this week was pretty tough. The cultural differences in the Muslim Mboro community are very foreign to me now that I am used to the farmer communities. It did not help that the questions I was given to ask them did not allow them to talk about issues that they are facing. This community is close to town, but most of the men own cattle back in their villages. They pay cattle herders to take care of their cows. The cattle herders are the ones directly suffering from the decrease in rainy season because there is less pasture for the cows to graze on. As a result of the decrease in wealth in the cattle business, many of the owners in this community are moving towards driving and business to make up for the loss. Therefore, many of the women and men alike did not know how to respond to or understand my questions about how they are affected by climate change. When I went back to discuss this with my supervisor, we decided that he will go in to the field with me in two weeks and that we will go directly to a village where they herd cows. That way he can help translate and phrase the questions so that the villagers understand better what I am asking them.
Saturday, July 20th– An adventure of a lifetime!
Yesterday I traveled for a second time to Zang Tabi to visit the Ticha family. Today, Stanley and Celestine took me on quite an adventure up to the Mboro community in the hills of Zang. Zang is made up of 8 quarters, the Mboro community being the 8th. There is no way to get there except to trek, and we trekked for 4 hours from the Ticha house to get to the top, through the rain! I felt like I was back in Peru hiking the Inca trail, except that there were no well paved paths. Instead, I was constantly slipping from the mud and the rocks; I must admit I was very worried I would break my leg a couple of times. In the Mboro community I had the pleasure of meeting the fon of the community, the traditional leader there. This Mboro community is very different from the one I visited this past week. They don’t leave the area except to travel down to the market once a week with their cattle. Most of the women have had no education, and it is only the boys that make it to primary school (elementary), and sometimes secondary school (high school). On the way out I bought some raw milk from them, which I get to try tomorrow after we boil it! I also got to have my first warm bucket shower after the long trek, what a treat!
Sunday, July 21st– Moto galore
Stanley’s co-worker, Divine, accompanied us this weekend to Zang on his motorcycle. Therefore, I got to ride around on his bike as we traveled to the other communities in Zang. We visited the Health Care Center in a neighboring village and made it to the second half of church. I then got to eat lunch with the Health Care Center’s staff who treated me to some chicken and cocoyams, yum! The driver that took us to Zang was supposed to come and pick us up again, but never showed up; we even waited until African time—an hour after! To get home we decided to ride the motorcycles until we could get to a bus. I went on Divine’s bike and Stanley went on his brother’s bike. It was pretty cool to get up to 50 mph on the freeway on a motorcycle, something I would never have had the chance to do in America. But don’t worry mom and dad, Divine gave me his helmet to wear before we left!