At the end of today, our second day of mapping, we rolled back into Mapaki with fowl in hand (a gift from John S. Bangura), motorbike repaired (it seems to disintegrate a little faster on each patrol), pineapple strapped to the side of the bike (gift from Malai), and all waypoints charted. I found my rice pan filled with double rations and there were both fish heads and chicken in my groundnut plasass. Life is good.
Other news. I was delighted to spend two days this week with Maggie, Shan, and Anna from the
And the final garden report. This week the tiny tomatoes ripened, which have been the only variety that survived. All other beds have now been replanted in local okra or left fallow (except for the lone cabbage family and basil that has struggled along under netting and the parsley that withstood the grasshoppers). Meanwhile, the farmers around here have pushed forward with brushing and there are many areas of bush that have been laboriously hand cleared of trees by cutlass and are ready for burning. The amount of manual labour that goes into producing a basketful of rice or cassava is frightening and people still talk longingly of the pre-war days when they had access to the occasional tractor, work-oxen and fertilizer. It’s been over a year now since I first arrived in
Photo: Usifu, Mabinty, and AKT prepare with the UNDP GPS units