Tuesday, 14 June 2011


I woke early this morning to some unfamiliar sounds outside my window, heavy hoofs, men's voices and chopping of wood. I looked out to discover serious ploughing going on. Large cattle were pulling the plough across land that was barren sand a few weeks ago. A man was chopping away any shrubs and small trees that were in the way.

I spoke to the farmer of this area and realised he had bought me pitou one Sunday afternoon in my second week in Nadowli. He will be planting maize here next week and in 3 months it will be ready to harvest. The whole landscape of the village is changing as farmers of these small plots make the most of their land. Almost everyone you meet has a little land somewhere where they can plant and reap the benefits. Plants grow very quickly here but are also prey to lots of bugs. Needless to say it is all very organic!
This fine creature took a turn with the afternoon shift.

Yesterday, the Minister for Education visited the district after a thwarted attempt a couple of weeks ago. She visited a secondary school in a neighbouring village with little warning. We were told the story this morning by our Director. Apparently, the school found a turkey which would suffice as an appropriate gift for her. However, the headteacher was advised something bigger would be better. Eventually, in the nick of time someone donated a sheep which the minister accepted gratefully.

Following this sharing of information, I enquired as to what the minister would do with the sheep. Evidently, she would either have it "chopped" and shared between her entourage, or if it was a good one someone would feed it near her hotel until she returned to Accra. It would be transported for her and she may add it to others if she had a farm of her own. She may, of course, be visiting any number of schools where such gifts would be presented! A farmer told me that often all these animals die if they are not very well attended to, because they all come from different areas and carry different parasites. They kill each other off! He added that it was unfortunate that the poor people of the Upper West need to give gifts to the wealthy minister from the affluent south.

This is rural Ghanaian hospitality. You share whatever you have. "Everyone is welcome", as they say, if you come across anyone who is eating.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing that you are saying crops grow fast, Gavin is having huge problems on the farm as the very dry time we have had recently has meant that they may not have enough food/hay/sillage for the cattle, sheep and horses, over the winter even the spell of rain we have had over the last couple of days has done little to help. Thank goodness the people have some crops that grow to supplement their food. Am loving the updates. Carole X