Friday, July 22, 2011
After the dirt in the field is loosened, you have plant the seeds. If you look closely in their hands you can see the peanuts these ladies are planting.
After this, you have to wait for the rains. Too much and not enough are both bad.
I mentioned that donkeys are used to pull plows, and showed you a picture of one at work. There seem to be quite a few donkeys around my village. I sometimes hear them braying at night, and often during the day. They seem to be more noisy at some times than at others. I am not sure if it is mothers calling to babies, like the sheep do, or if the noise is a mating call. I had never heard a donkey bray before I came to Burkina Faso, and I don’t know exactly how to describe the sound. First of all, it is not a simple hee-haw like the sound we made as kids. It is incredibly loud and seems like it should be coming from a bigger animal. It almost seems like the poor animal can’t get the sound out without a lot of painful effort.
The donkeys are mostly used to pull two wheeled carts called “charrettes.” The girls who bring me my water use this kind of cart to carry my 200 liters of water. Kids and adults use them to transport the mud bricks used for building and the sand and clay used to make the mud mortar that goes between the bricks. People also use them to haul wood from the bush and things they want to sell at the market. After the kids have delivered the loads, they sometimes have races down the road, standing up in the carts, like charioteers. The donkeys do not have halters or bridles with reins to guide them. The driver carried a switch, cut from some handy tree. If you want to donkey to move to the right, you hit it on the left side, and if you want it to go left, you hit it on the right side. Donkeys are dragged from the court yard by a rope tied to one front leg. They are allowed to wander free after the harvest, but now that things have been planted again, they are staked to the ground with this rope around the leg to some spot far enough away from crops that they can’t get them.
More about black plastic bags
I am happy to report that there are some enterprising ladies in Burkina Faso who have found a use for these ubiquitous black plastic bags. They cut strips from them and weave them into a fabric to make purses and wallets. I wish more people were doing this. It would help clean up the country! Here are some samples, modeled by some of my fellow volunteers:
A toiletries bag