I haven't written a blog update in a really long time (in about 5 months), and this can't even really be considered an update so much as catching up on stuff from my last few months in Kayemor (i.e., April - October 2011) that I have wanted to post for a long time. So here goes nothing...
In April or May 2011 sometime, I had Awa Traore, Peace Corps/Senegal's culture and gender issues goddess, come and lead a discussion in Kayemor about gender issues, such as early marriage, girls education, rape, raising children, and many other related topics. She came on the day that the USAID-funded mosquito net distribution was happening in Kayemor, so instead of trying to organize a separate meeting with people in Kayemor, we went to where a lot of people had already gathered: the central location in the middle of Kayemor. There, it was pretty easy for my counterpart to make an announcement with the megaphone that Kayemor had a guest, Awa, and she wanted to lead a discussion with people. It was mostly women who were there, listening to Awa and engaging in the conversation, but there were also a handful of men participating - including the village chief. Awa's discussion was really well received, and several women asked me when Awa could come back again. She hasn't made it back to Kayemor (yet anyway!), but hopefully the topics discussed have impacted some people - I know the importance of girls education is certainly common knowledge in the area (not just from the work of Awa obviously).
The man above in white is the village chief.
Here are the people in charge of distributing the mosquito nets in the Kayemor area. The man in the yellow shirt standing up is the doctor in Kayemor.
These guys are writing the owner's name on the net.
This woman is showing off her ticket to pick up her and her family's mosquito nets.
These shirts say:
Mosquito nets should be used by: all the family (the whole family), all year round, all night; because mosquitos are always present!
My mosquito nets! I was able to request 2 nets because I have to beds - one inside my hut, and one outside. This worked out well, because the nets were kind of short, so I (like many people in Kayemor) had a local tailor sew the 2 nets together so it turned into one big, long/tall net. I was then able to leave one net attached to the roof of my hut for my bed inside and also leave one attached for my bed outside, which was really convenient during the rainy season when I would often started sleeping outside and then would be forced to move inside when it started raining.
One day during this same time period (April-May 2011), I went out with another agriculture extension agent in Kayemor, Ibrahima Faty (a Senegalese man who works for Wula Nafaa, a program funded by USAID's Feed the Future program, which is the same source of funding for Peace Corps/Senegal's food security program), and some other people from Wula Nafaa who were testing out their newest version of a "ripper" that they're using for their conservation farming technique. I took a lot of photos that day, but the following 3 are some of the ones I like the most.
This young boy looked on throughout the demonstration and evaluation of the ripper - a young farmer interested in new techniques but uninterested in where they come from (or, more precisely, where the money to extend them comes from), which is represented by the small flag and 3 letters stitched on the front of this young farmer's neighbor's t-shirt: USA.
This guy seemed crazy - and maybe he really is. I just loved how he was walking around with the radio (not on) and a jug filled with who knows what over his shoulder.
He even shared his wisdom regarding the ripper... I didn't catch what he had to say, though maybe Faty or the other Wula Nafaa staff did.