Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We've had two more satisfying days.  On Monday we met with a 
Presbyterian development organization that took us to a community where
they are working.  As usual, we sat under the best village shade tree and most 
of the men and women came.  
In the afternoon we visited the Yaakoro Youth Development Center,
a local organization helping young women learn worthwhile trade skills.

Yesterday we traveled to Bolgatanga (wouldn't it be great to come 
from a town with that name? - almost as good as Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso).
We were hosted by Doris, a fast moving dynamo - wonderful!
We visited a school, a team of  women making Shea Butter, a group
of women making Pito (more on that below), and a craft center.
Walking around in the hot midday sun takes its toll.  We were very pleased
when God sent us a thunderstorm at the end of the day.

In the farming community, this man is telling us about their
community, its history, what they grow, and what changes
they have made in the last few years.  We heard a lot about climate
change.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to know when to plant,
because the rains are all different than they used to be.

It's typical for the men to sit together, for the women to sit together
as well, and for the children to sit together too.  Here the woman
in the back was telling us what the women have been doing.  They too
are farmers and are concerned about their crops.  But the crops they
grow and the crops the men grow are different.

The kids, always orderly and well-behaved!!!! join the meeting as well.
One part of the Yaakoro Youth Development Center.  The women we
see here are apprentices and still learning to sew.  Until they learn well,
the sew dresses made of paper from cement bags.  Can't waste good
cloth on novices.

When we looked around, we noticed that we had an audience.

Here is Doris the Dynamo.  Everywhere we went, she rode her motorcycle,
and she took one of our group to ride with her.  What you don't see is
beautiful two-year old daughter riding in between Doris and Krista.

The kindergarten class in the local school.  68 kids!  They come knowing
no English, but they start to learn at school.  The recited two poems
for us and also sang a version of "I'm a teapot."  We reciprocated by
singing our own version of "I'm a teapot."  When we poured ourselves
out, they broke out in gleeful laughter.  We also visited elementary
classrooms and junior high classes.  This was actually a fine school.
Some good learning was taking place here and the mood was upbeat.

Off to see the Shea Butter operation.  We walked through the rolling
fields for about a kilometer.  That's sorghum in the background.

Here we are again, under a tree.  And this  is where the shea butter
operation unfolded.  Notice all the pots and pans in between the legs
of the students.  They'll all be used.

You start by smashing the nuts, which come from a tree about the size
of an apple tree.

They let us smash some too.  A big rock below, the nut on the rock,
and a small rock brought down hard on the nut does the job.

Here's Paola working the resulting paste in one of those big bowls.
Notice how hunched over she is.  That's the normal stance for working
on this.  I imagine it's hard on the back.  The call is "butter," because
after kneading and mixing it like this for a long time, the butter
separates from the water, just like when you make real butter from cream.
Shea butter is used mostly for skin care.  Look on skin lotion products
and you'll often see shea butter as one of the ingredients.  Here's where
it comes from.

The people in these communities were not Muslim, and there were some
indications of Christianity, but there is a lot of traditional religion too.
This is a shrine to the ancestors. I'm not sure of the meaning of all the
parts of the shrine.  

We went to another community where they make pito (peetoh), a drink
processed from sorghum.  You take the sorghum seeds, soak them, let them
germinate, then dry them, and finally smash them, before mixing it again
with water, boiling it and straining it.  It's a long process.  Once the pito
is made, you can drink it, oooorrrrr, you can let it sit and ferment, and then
drink it.
We drank it both ways.  Of course you drink from calabashes.

Always some well-behaved kids around.  Notice how
they found the shade.

After sitting around for a while drinking pito, the group broke into a
dancing game.  One at a time, a person from their group would do some very
hot stepping, slapping the ground with their feet so hard they sounded
like tap dancers making their own rhythms.  And then they would
run up to one of our group, who had to do some hot stepping of her
own.  Lots of  fun.  This is a younger girl, but many of the older women
joined in too.

We had such a nice time at the pito place, talking, drinking, and dancing,
that it felt natural to give gifts to each other.  We gave them about
$20, and they gave us this  guinea fowl.  

And when we got home, a glorious thunderstorm.  The students
took advantage of it, playing ninja and cooling off at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. Lindas fotos y un contenido muy educativo. Me hubiese encantado poder visitar la escuela. Sesenta y ocho estudiantes en la clase de kinder! Y qué lindo que cantaron para ustedes y ustedes para ellos!