This blog reflects my personal ideas and does not represent any position of the US government or the Peace Corps.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A little rain with that heat

I wanted to quickly follow up on the well project that I touched on in my last blog entry. The project was finished approximately one week ago. We started in early May with the purchase of cement from the nearby town of Kounghuel and proceeded to transport the sacks (totaling about 2 tons) 21 kilometers back to the village of Diam Diam Saly via horse-drawn carts. Contrary to my previous beliefs, this was the most time consuming phase of the entire repair. Initially, the internal structure of the well that had collapsed in previous rainy seasons was repaired by a local mason specializing in well work. The mason was actually lowered the 32 feet down into the well by a system of ropes and pulleys and gradually passed down the cement needed for the repair, one bucket at a time. After this phase of the repair was complete, a large portion of the remaining cement was used to make bricks for the external structure. Masons living within the village were hired to construct the walls surrounding the well and reinforce the platform such that future erosion water will not damage the integrity of the well. Finally, this past week, the remaining funds were used to purchase a large amount of rope and a brand new pulley for the community. (here's the link:

Seeding millet.
Other than the well, my second rainy season in Senegal is threatening to begin. In early June we experienced two rains (between 20-30 mm) only a couple of days apart. This, of course, caused everyone to hook up their horses, donkeys and cows and seed millet into the newly wet soil. It may have been a little hasty however, in that since those two rains we have seen...nada, zip, zilch (only my own sweat). Who knew that farming with rain as your irrigation system could be so difficult (especially when there's no such thing as the 5:00 news or a weather man)? Some villagers are a little worried considering if seeds remain in the soil too long with no rain they may not germinate or could rot. In the mean while, I'll do a little rain dance. And of course, with the rains will come a lot of my work as an agriculture volunteer. Just like last year, I will be extending five types of seed (corn, millet, sorghum, rice and beans) to about ten farmers throughout the area. Accompanying the extended seed, we discuss with farmers a variety of best agriculture practices that they may or may not choose to adopt…  
Here she is!

On an exciting note, I have also discovered that the best way to find out the flora and fauna that exist in Senegal is to simply not sweep my hut for large expanses of time. In particular, this past week, I lifted one mat to discover something I never knew existed here, and if I had, I may have reconsidered coming to the country in the first place…Since its discovery it has been relocated to a nearby baobab tree though if it is to return it will not be so lucky again. (see photo)

Now, I anxiously await the month of Ramadan (about 3 weeks away) and begin the food hoarding process (similar to a squirrel preparing for hibernation). 

For pictures of a few recent adventures and the finished well, check out my photobucket ( 

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