Field Notes, Photoggling

How to Feed the Future Pt. 5: Field Trip to Meng

In order to inspire my women and expand their world, I decided to take them out of village on a field trip to Meng, where another volunteer had also implemented a gardening project on a much bigger scale.

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Exploring the gardens.

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Chatting with another gardener and our wonderful host, Holly.

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Green peppers!

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Cameroonian-style photo.

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Smiling.

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I’m an expert at not smiling.

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Cheesing with the squad.

After the tour, we then spent the afternoon talking about nutrition, how to make banana bread, and how to make soy milk and tofu.

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Group discussion during a competition to see who could come up with the greatest number of well-balanced meals.

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Banana bread.

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The tofu captain! (We had a nearby shop owner come and show how he and his family makes tofu and soy milk.)

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This is a dutch oven (or how we bake things here).

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Adding vinegar-the acidity helps the tofu to clump. (Fun fact: also works with milk if you want to make cheese.)

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My counterpart butting in in front of Holly in order to be in the picture

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Team Ngatt.

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Field Notes, Photoggling

Fête de la Jeunesse 2017

Photos from this year’s Youth Day celebration. The highlight in my humble opinion? The women’s gardening group marching with their watering cans and acting out their gardening project during the parade.

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Ollie (center front), my counterpart’s son, is the cutest. He practiced the songs all week and consistently kept getting them wrong.

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Another of my counterpart’s sons (also Ollie’s older brother).

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The women with their watering cans ready to march.

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Acting out gardening.

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Everyone dressed up to watch the parade.

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Hawa and her son

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Maimouna and her son

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Ismail and his son, Pesil

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My landlord, Oumarou, all dressed up in his fancy clothes.

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Jeanette, Hawa and me

 

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The moto drivers

And of course, what would be a Youth Day without youth?

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Tomfoolery

Woman Way Too Excited about Salad

Yes. This is a post about a salad. (But it is not to be confused with the tumblr: Women Laughing Alone with Salad. I haven’t reached that point. Yet.)

It all started with my counterpart Jeanette sending me a bowl full of lettuce from her garden.

A GINORMOUS bowl of lettuce.

Having just finished lunch, I was worried that I would not be able to finish it all. (This proved to be an unnecessary concern.)

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LETTUCE!!!

 

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Way too excited about lettuce. 

 

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When I finally was able to restrain myself enough to make a salad with the lettuce. 

“Just like Sweetgreen.”-PCV who has not had Sweetgreen in over a year.

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Field Notes, Photoggling

How to Feed the Future, Pt. 3

Photos from garden visits of successful transplants this past week.

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Hawa’s garden

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Lettuce

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Filling up the watering can from the river close to Adama’s and Ladi’s gardens.

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Adama’s garden

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Ladi’s garden. Her sister, Adawa, is in the blue and has been helping with the endeavor.

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More views of lettuce.

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Jeanette’s garden.

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Pesky little grasshopper.

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Cabbage

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“Hakondjam” or Amaranth.

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“Hakko Lalo”

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Tomatoes that Jeannette gave me from her garden.

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Mornings in Ngatt.

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Field Notes, Photoggling

How to Feed the Future, Pt. 2: Transplanting

While nurseries are great for the young, there comes a time when one must leave kindergarten and start taking on the real world. Fortunately in gardening, there is plenty of advice and rules out there in order to assure the plants will survive the shock and begin to thrive in their new environment.

First, transplant in the evening. It gives the plants the time to find their footing (re-root?) before another hot day.

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Burning the bed in order to help sanitize. (Not always necessary when transplanting, but super important when creating a nursery). 

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Watering. 

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Mixing up the soil to prepare for the plants.

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Creating a measuring stick for spacing.

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Spacing out the rows. 

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Carefully breaking apart the plants. NOTE: Keep some of the old soil on the plants so they retain some of their former environment, which eases the transition.

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Not a plant. 

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Carefully scooping under the plants in order to assure that they retain some of the old environment and that roots are not damaged while moving. 

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Situating the plant in the ground. 

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Re-emphasizing the importance of scooping under. 

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More children. 

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Almost done. 

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Field Notes, Photoggling

How to Feed the Future, Pt. 1

Over a month since my grant has been approved and things are now moving forward. Working with these women always brighten my week and instead of writing a detailed post of everything we are doing, since I am photographing everything (as a form of recording), it is easier to just show you.

I. Compost.

Compost was a very easy lesson, since these women already compost as a means of waste disposal. Basically the lesson could be summarized as this: “You know your trash can?” *nods of affirmation* “Well…you can use that as a fertilizer to help enrich the soil! Just take out the plastic bags and throw in some goat poop and voila!”

Below, for your view pleasure, pictures of trash cans, er…I mean compost.

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Chez Ladi

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Close-up

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Chez Hawa

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Chez Jeanette

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Chez Adama

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Jeanette (left) had already shared what she learned at the Gardening training in July with Hawa (right) and so naturally we had to take a picture.

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Jeanette with her tomato plants, which finally started really sprouting now that it is dry season. (As it turns out, tomatoes aren’t a fan of all the rain.)

II. Visiting the future garden.

Next we all hiked to visit the site of the future garden; however, after this photo the women decided they wanted to pick their own sites, using their own land. Because dry season is approaching, in order to make watering easier, the women decided they preferred to walk farther to their gardens and have it located near a river than haul a lot of water up to their house everyday.

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Hawa, Jeanette, Ladi, and Adama

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Hawa’s baby was like this the entire hour we were out there.

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The return

III. Watering cans

Locations chosen, the women started preparing the land and then the fun part, handing out all the seeds and the watering cans I purchased with the grant money.

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Posing with the watering cans, which the women have all renamed “Mariam” (my village name) in honor of the fact I gave it to them.

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Gathering basil seed, from the seeds I gave to Jeanette last spring, for the next year.

IV. Visiting the nurseries

A couple weeks after handing out the seeds and the watering cans, the women went to work. Before Thanksgiving, we then had another meeting to discuss nutrition and played a “healthy plate” game where the women had to create meals that included a protein, a vegetable and starch. At that meeting we discussed any questions and problems these women had in planting their nurseries and we made plans for me to visit each one sometime in the next week.

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Adama and Ladi’s nursery. They are currently in the process of constructing a shade for the small plants because the sun is very strong in the afternoon.

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Adama and Ladi

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Ladi’s sister, Adama, posing with a hoe

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Hawa’s garden. Hawa’s family has been helping her with planting and watering and almost created a small field.

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Hawa’s daughter watering.

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Jeanette and Hawa discussing the shoots

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Posing with the nursery

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Hawa and her son

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Jeanette’s garden

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Teaching Olivier, Jeanette’s son, how to take a selfie

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Going to the watering hole

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Washing at the end of the day. Also those brown things in the water are cassava, which you leave in the water for three days before you wash it, peel it, dry it and then sell it at the market.

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Olivier demanded that I film him climbing the log.

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The walk home

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(They caught me filming them.)

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