Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Moringa pepinière!

When I went back to site for a few days after TOT Workshop, I decided that I needed to make the most of it since I'd be gone for a few weeks for VAC and the start of PST. Talked to the teachers at my primary school for a bit about the end of the school year activities, weighed babies at the CSPS (village medical center) and decided to start a Moringa pepinière (nursery) since it's rainy season is about to begin and everyone's hitting the fields.

A few of the really dedicated girls in my CM1 Girls' Club helped me out with everything from beginning to end to make this Moringa pepinière a reality. My hope is that when I return to site in the beginning of July, I'll have a full-grown nursery that I can begin to plant at the school, in my courtyard and at the CSPS.

Planting Moringa is something that was emphasized as an excellent secondary project. Personally, I don't have much experience planting, except for when my little brother David and I were little and we helped our Dad plant things in our backyard (I'm talking 5 years old, so really, we didn't do much!). But what happens is that if done correctly, the Moringa tree can survive in pretty harsh conditions. The leaves (also if dried/used properly) have ridiculous amounts of vitamins and nutrients that can be added to any dish. A perfect way to combat malnutrition and help save the environment too. Read it up!

The girls collected the water sachets along the street in town. Littering is such a huge problem here in Burkina (I admit, I can be guilty of it, too) so it wasn't difficult to collect water sachets.

I showed the girls how to cut the appropriate holes into the water sachets so that water can exit in the bottom.

We then got a wheelbarrow and collected some dirt to place into the water sachets.

Hard work, yo! The cultivating tool they use is called the "daba."

Placing the dirt into the water sachets. Ideally, you should mix dirt with compost and manure...because time was of the essence, I just used really moist dirt.

We lined them up on my porch and poked our thumbs into each dirt-filled water sachet. You insert the seeds and voila! You're almost done.

Watering them initially is extremely important.

While I'm gone, one of my CM1 Girls' Club leaders (Kadidja) will be helping to water them everyday. She is without a doubt one of my favorite students! You'll be hearing more about her later, I'm sure. She'll definitely go far in life!

Jon and I constructed this net cover over the Moringa pepinière to protect it from hungry goats and sheep that will definitely munch on the plants once they start to sprout.

Special thanks to my good pal and closest PCV neighbor Jon for helping me out and taking pictures!! My New Year's Resolution to take more pictures is definitely working. We just need to take more pictures of our daily life!

Okay, so that's that. This might be the last blog in a while because I'm heading to Ouahigouya to start training for the new Volunteers. Exciting!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Camels and cute kids. And life in a nutshell.

I realized it's been too long since I've blogged, so I've decided to share some pictures with you all.

Jonas & Demetrius drop by!

Cute kids...although they are starting to become really mischievous. I remember that age!

Camel riding in Bani (northern Burkina Faso). Sadly, my camera battery died soon after this picture...Gwen has more though!

On a completely different note, things have been absolutely busy! Since the end of May, it's been lots of traveling back and forth between my site and Ouaga. I haven't even had the time (or energy) to write in my personal journal which has been a must for me since I first got here. Training Design and Evaluation (TDE) Workshop for a week in Ouaga with all the PCVFPs, Technical Trainers and other Peace Corps staff to re-evaluate each sector's project plan and create the Calendar of Training Events (COTE) for our training group. Lots of work but it's something I really enjoyed because I felt like we were able to implement a lot of the changes we wanted for our training a year ago. Then I had Peer Support & Diversity Network (PSDN) training, which is a Peace Corps committee which provides emotional support to our fellow volunteers. Luckily, I was elected Co-Chair with Bovard, so this should be one interesting year!! Takes me back to my RA days, senior year at LMU, haha! I went back to site for a little bit, then headed to Ouahigouya (haven't been there since training a year ago!) in June for Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop. All the PCVFPs, PCVFs and Technical Trainers got together to learn how to properly facilitate sessions and what to expect as the Trainees arrive. It was like a mini-reunion for us all! As well, Madame Ouattara got the post as Language and Culture Facilitator (LCF) so she was there as well. It was interesting bringing my life at home/site and my Peace Corps life together! And it felt like having an aunt with me throughout TOT. Haha! I headed back to site to do a little work and start a Moringa pepiniere (nursery) with my CM Girls' Club (more pictures in the next blog post). I'm here in Ouaga for my VAC meeting and come tomorrow, I head to Ouahigouya to prepare for the arrival of our GEE Trainees. About 20 Trainees coming to Burkina Faso in a week. Exciting!!