All posts tagged: Mali agriculture

on pride, and being a Fraud Generalist

There is a kind of pride that comes from recognition–for a job well done, or something you’ve created or produced. it’s exciting, validating, even motivating. But sometimes, in my case, that kind of pride is tainted with self-doubt. I cross my fingers hoping no one notices the cracks in the veneer, or the chips in the paint–the little defects that eat away at a sense of accomplishment. I duck out of the limelight because I figure if anyone got to the bottom of things, they’d realize i’m a Fraud Generalist at Life. It’s hard to take a big bite out of recognition; I’d rather nibble a bit, in case it turns out I don’t actually deserve what’s coming to me. But – but! – there is another sort of pride that is more buoying, and exhilarating: the pride that comes from contributing to someone else’s success. That kind of pride is my favorite, because it involves the ego-once-removed. if you’ve been a part of someone else’s journey to accomplishment, whether setting the stage, plotting the course, pushing (or …

on the rain

In school history books, and cheesy movies, you learned about those ancient (and not so ancient) civilizations whose agricultural practices made them dependent upon fickle precipitation, and even more fickle gods. The rituals, the sacrifices, the offerings to appease the powers that were. anything for rain, anything for fertile fields and a promise of a full harvest. How strange to imagine someone high in the sky, debating whether or not to roll up their sleeves and wring out the clouds. Yet, working with farmers through a dry season, my relationship to rainfall has changed. Because now everything–everything–depends on that rain. Where I once saw puddling obstacles, or traffic jams, or the lowly absence of an umbrella, even a pleasant summer thunderstorm, I now see hope, and sprouting sprouts, and tremendous relief. When the wind gathers speed and the drops begin to fall, I’m elated, beyond thrilled, as are my colleagues. Because we would give almost anything for rain, for fertile fields, for a promise of a full harvest. And I can imagine – I can just see …

on growth

Sometimes it’s wild. Sometimes it’s orderly. Sometimes robust. Other times, painstaking. It happens, though–whether we’re looking or not, whether we’re trying or not, whether we’re ready or not. Growth happens. Or so I hope. Test field, Magnambougou Bamako, Mali

on an empty sky

Mid-February, and the sky gives up nothing. Condensation ascends, gathers …and moves past. It’s a refusal, or a dare, or a test. There’s a missing link between earth and sky — a natural connection, absent. You can’t help but wonder if the clouds have simply forgotten you.