Field Notes, Photoggling, Tomfoolery

Peace Corps Accessory Pack: Planting Season ’16, Chez Jess


Views of the weekly deluge from chez moi.


Ah yes, it’s once again that time of year, rainy season, which more importantly, also means planting season, the start of something new–projects, plants–and you certainly want to be dressed appropriately. Without further ado, your in-season wardrobe and accessories:


Straw Hat (price on request)-Good for keeping the sun off your neck when you are out in your field all day.

Outfit, Target, (price on request)-Pants, tank top and shirt. A village appropriate outfit for a day of working in the fields. Note: I’m pretty sure Vogue said you could mix patterns as long as they were in the same color family. Regardless, 5 year old Jessica would have loved the fashions here.

Hoe, Ngatt market, 2000 CFA-For preparing the field for sowing. Also I get a lot of street cred carrying this through village. “Nasara don rema na?” “Ohoo.” “A andi remugo na?” “Ohoo.” They then grab my hands, still in disbelief that I know how to work in the fields, looking for calluses. When they find them, “Boldum.”

Books, (price varies)-I like to read 4-5 books at a time, they are also nice to have when you are waiting for people, protocol, etc. Current selection: The Man in the Iron Mask (I’ve started saying <<Mordieu!>> all the time), The Peace Corps guidebook to moringa, and Where Women Have No Doctor.

Backpack-Perfect size for carrying all the things needed on a daily basis.

Rainbows, 50 USD-When it comes to bougie flip flops, I have realized my Rainbows are much easier to slip on and off and are super comfy after four years of breaking in. The also smell better. (Sorry, Chacos. Don’t take it personally.)

Sunscreen-Just trying to stay white (and not turn red) and avoid skin cancer.

Nalgene, Amazon, 12 USD-The unbreakable water bottle. Good for hydration.

Cell phone, Amazon, 25 USD-Dual Sim, Unlocked, etc.

Sewing project-Keeps me busy when I have a spare moment and useful for animations on women’s health. Current project: A womb with a detachable placenta, water sack, cord and baby. Note: The petits like to come up to me and say “Pillow,” obviously proud of their English skills. “Kai,” I respond, “Placenta.” This encounter always ends with them looking very confused.

Posters, (price on request)-Amadou and I started door-to-doors this week doing HIV/AIDS animations. Posters are useful ways to explain transmission and prevention.

Condoms, (Male and Female), Wooden penis-Also useful in explaining prevention. At the town meeting last week, roughly a hundred males (of all ages) giggled themselves silly when Amadou and I did the condom demonstrations. Note: I, too, also find it hilarious that I have wooden wood in my backpack. (Maturity, we’ll get there eventually.)

Last but not least, some bonus pictures of my field:


I hoed all of that. Great upper body workout, but also very glad I am lucky enough to not have to rely on this for my food for the year.


And it’s already sprouted!


Little baby soy plant. 






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