I've been here in Chereponi almost a week. Things have been moving pretty slowly since my last blog post. Last Thursday the district director left for Tamale, then for some reason unbeknownst to myself the rest of the staff decided it was a good time to visit Tamale for them too. So on Friday I scheduled a trip to the villages with an extension staff whom I've made friends with, who's name is Aruna or Arune (not sure how to spell it). This trip was really interesting and informative. I learned that the language barrier is much larger of a barrier than I had originally assumed for two reasons. The first is the extension staff rarely fully understand me or the idea I'm trying to purvey when we speak english together, then this problem is further exacerbated when he translates my broken ideas into the local language. For this reason I often receive responses to my question that make little or no sense. So I have committed my weekend time to learning the local language Anoofou small-small (gradually in Canadian english). Apart from this I began to notice that response to an AEAs instruction seems to hinge strongly upon the bond with the farmer or the trust the farmer has on the staff member. But to be entirely sure of this I need to do more research!
The weekend was spent try to immerse myself in the culture, Saturday morning I worked a small amount in the proccessing of the dowa-dowa plant, but qiuickly tired myslef out and then slept for a good portion of the day. On Sunday I attended church at a Catholic church very near to my host family's house. It was a small congregation, and because the pastor is away on a workshop the sermon was given by a local boy about my age by the name of Emanuel. All the same it w.as very interesting and I found the passion that the villagers around me share for their religion is very moving, then Sunday night I was treated to the opportunity of seeing my host family's farm. There was a large and well maintained Yam farm, and a smaller portion of land set aside for Maize. But the portion used for maize was un-plowed this season because Ghandi cannot afford to plow it this year. Hopefully I can post pictures of this soon (an explanation for why I haven't yet follows).
Today (Monday) I rode as quickly as I could in 98 degree weather to find the office completely empty, and when I called the staff whose numbers I had I found out most of them were in Tamale. Apparently there is a party in Tamale I wasn't invited to. So I used the time to charge my phone and computer then came back to the village. When I got here I hung around the school for a while writing this blog post when I was approached by some University of Development Studies students. They told me as a part of their education they are to spend 2 months here and in other parts of the Chereponi district collecting data on the environment and anthropology of the people here. With the hopes that the data can be used for national and international development projects to be used in this district, and in other districts they are staying in. This may be an ideal plan, but if it works it's most definitely and admirable goal to have.
This post may seem a tad irradic, because as I post it my family is asking me to bathe, and group of very excited children are eagerly wtching me type LOL :)
Thanks for reading if you did!!