Thursday, 5 July 2012


How lucky were we that last weekend included a Public Holiday – Republic Day. We needed so much time. Sowing started in earnest on Saturday morning with Louisa, Paula (our seamstress), and me raring to go with bags of maize and lengths of cord to ensure straight rows. To begin with we were in the shade which was nice for us but the overhanging trees will not allow the best yield.

As the day wore on we were joined by various children, some to watch and others, of all ages, lending small hands usefully. A steady supply of Pito helped sustain us as we measured the width of the rows and the spacing of the seeds and made slow progress down the field. At least 3 assorted men arrived periodically to offer their different advice which was taken or left according to their experience. (The PTA chair is also the District Agriculture Officer so he probably knows his stuff!) 

Others slowed or stopped their motos along the road to observe a Nansapor sowing, a sight not seen previously I understand! A team of women offered their services to do the job for us for 5Cedis (£2) each on Tuesday, but the determination was there to complete the task before then. Saving some money was an added impetus. 

The first 2 hours we had spent weeding had been unnecessary, evidently. Just remove the weeds at the sowing point and it will be fine. The feeding of the 5000 workers/supporters happened at some stage.

Watching experts manage this operation is amazing as the process requires some skill. As I fumbled a handful of maize and stabbed my cutlass into the soil at random intervals, my co-planters were progressing almost at a run beside me and completed at least 2 rows to my one. It was like a dance ……step, insert cutlass tip, lift soil, insert 2 pieces of maize, cover with a couple of taps and step ………and so on. Poetry in motion with a permanently bent back, which doesn’t seem to be a problem to Ghanaian women. I ended each day with 2 Ibruprofen that soothed my muscles wonderfully.

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