Monday, May 10, 2010

Fun in the garden

I did germination tests on the seed farmers returned to me for the improved seed extension program we (ag Peace Corps Volunteers) do here in Senegal and, instead of just tossing the germinated plants away and wasting the seed, I decided to make a demonstration plot of an improved technique of intercropping in the garden of the guys that I’m helping. In order to bring the plants to the garden, I asked the older kids in my family and their friends to help me – so we put the pots of plants in a few wheel barrows, which they took turns pushing, and, since we only had 3 wheel barrows but four pans full of pots and since I was the oldest among us and therefore the strongest (though that’s debatable), I carried a pan on my head (like a true Senegalese woman, sort of).

And then when we got to the garden, the kids had fun like only kids know how to do. They goofed around with twirling a stick, jumping on each other, and doing karate – as well as drinking from the well (we were all very thirsty, but the water was clearly very dirty [since the wells in their garden are literally just holes in the ground, and not lined with cement like most wells, because the water table there is so low] so I didn’t even think about drinking from it; only a couple of the guys did drink from it).

I spent that day and the next day transplanting the crops (corn, cowpeas, sorghum, and rice) with the guys who work in the garden (not these kids). Then the third day, after we had spent the morning watering, weeding, and gathering manure to apply the crops and make compost with, I wanted to take a picture of the guys with the transplanted crops – and Mohammet (the jokester I talked about at the end of my Gamou post) immediately starting joking around and pretending to kick Gallo (who is the oldest guy working in the garden, and usually quite serious, though he definitely knows how to joke around and have fun, and he loves teasing Mohammet, just like an older brother would tease his younger brother), while the other guys (from left to right in the back: Ali, Tomsir, and El Hadj) just watched on and laughed.

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