Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hey y'all

I have arrived at my summer mid-point and my birthday too; yep on the 29th I will be 20 and celebrating here in Ghana.

I have to been very glad to be away from the office the last few weeks; I spent 10 days in a village near by. In Lito, I spent my days working on the farm and at the home. At the farm I planted a variety of different seeds with the two wives in my family, carried water from a nearby water hole (literally, I will send a picture), helped pick and process vegetables and leaves, and prepared food for the workers and ourselves. There are six men that work weeding, planting and harvesting with my landlord Mr. Mohamed Iddrisu as well as his many children that just work on the weekends (as they attend school in the week).

So far, the farms I have seen in Ghana, including the one I worked on, are very different than most farms I have seen in Canada. Despite the size difference, these "small" farms are much more like massive gardens growing a variety of different crops in one area. Although there are many crops they are not separated into sections or rows, rather mixed all together. When I send pictures you will better be able to understand what I am trying to explain. A yam hill will have okra (a green vegetable used in soups) planted at the base in both sides, a tree growing between two yam hills will have a squash vine growing up it (haven't been able to get a confirmed name, but it is just used in soups for its seeds), and between four yam hills there will be pepper sprouts coming up, just to name a few. Everything is just growing together; there is much diversity in one field.

Mr. Iddrisu and his family primarily grow cassava, a root, for profit. This root is used in a variety of Ghanaian dishes and is prepared a variety of ways. As flour it is used with maize flour to make TZ, a staple food in most households, as dough to also be used with maize dough to make banku, and also it can be grated, dried, pressed and fried for gari and starch, which are both taken as porridge with milk and sugar. As mentioned before, they also grow yams, okra, squash and pepper. In addition to these, there are dowadowa trees (the seeds are used in soup), shea trees (produces a fruit you can eat and a nut which can be processed into oil or butter which is used in cosmetics), pawpaw (papaya) trees (fruit producing), maize and a new addition- a banana plant. Aside from the farm, the first wife also keeps two gardens in the village which she grows a variety of vegetables in all year round. I also forgot to mention that he runs a provision store in Lito selling a variety of foods and medicines and other household items.

I have so much more to tell, but because I was in the village so long I couldn't write much up. This may be my last post for a while as I have no more plans to return to the city until I am ready to go home. So if you are trying to follow me, wait a month before you check.

Once again, I would be glad to hear from you, so call me if you can. From Canada you can try to get me at 011-233-24-968-4072. It may be difficult to get through so try a lot. Remember I am 6 hours ahead of MST. If it is too costly for you to call me, you can flash me (call and hang up before I get it) or send me a text and I will happily call you back.

Lots of Love from Ghana,


1 comment:

Lee Melnyk said...

Hi Jess!
Your blog is so interesting. What an amazing experience you're having! Can't wait 'til you get home so we can hear more. We're praying for you.
Auntie Lee