All posts tagged: west africa agriculture

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 imagineĀ 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 dropsĀ 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.