Thursday, October 8, 2009

News not related to hospitals, even though it is malaria season

Millet growing in my concession

Part of the winnowing process

The millet, stored on its stalks. This is in Narba's concession, with millet from the family's fields.

Other news that isn't related to hospitals! Let's see. Harvest is in full swing. Beans beans beans, everywhere. And millet. Yesterday a woman gave me an entire bucket of green beans which were sooo good and fresh. It's hot again, and we have fewer rains to cool us off, so I spend a lot of time looking for shade.

Malaria season is upon us--started a few weeks ago and will continue for several more. Malaria season sucks, and if I could think of a more powerful word than "sucks" I would use it. Every home I visit has someone down with malaria. Lots of kids have it; in my close family circle, which includes 12 kids under the age of 12, 4 have malaria this week. Two of them got meds from the clinic a couple miles away; the other two haven't gone yet.
I realize that all of my messages to you guys for the last month have been semi-bummers. It is a fitting tale...this time of year is tough, and there's no way around it. Sick people, hot weather, mosquitoes.

But we're all hanging in there, treasuring the lighter moments--such as:

Two days ago I walked around (verrrry slowly) with Abarta, an old lady and former women's leader. She's awesome--even-tempered, candid, and logical, a good leveler for my sustained mild sense of panic of the last few weeks. She also doesn't see well, but she knows my voice, and we've become friends. Anyway, we shuffled around Foloa, and she told me why she chews tobacco. She made a convincing argument and I did not counter it. Her gums hurt from where her teeth fell out, and tobacco is the only thing that soothes them. So there.


Madeline McKeever said...

Is this the millet sown at the end of June?

Kerry said...

Hello Madeline. Full disclosure: I am using photos J sent home on her camera card from last year's harvest at this time. (Nothing more recent, and her occasional internet connection has not been up to sending pics) But to answer your question: yes, the millet you see here would have been planted in the months of May and June. What an amazing plant. We saw it ourselves when we visited in August: some of it already grown taller than us, and planted in nothing more than sand. This drought-resistant plant, bird seed to us, is the staple crop of Niger's people. Thank god they got just barely enough rain (again) to have a harvest.

Patricia said...

I am so enjoying your blog. My nephew, Chad Morrow, is a new PCV in Niger. He arrived the first part of July and has been at his new post for a few weeks now. He has already survived a bad cold or the flu and a horrible heat rash. His Niger name, given by his host Dad is Hassan. Somehow he was able to Skype his Mom (my sister) last weekend. We are extremely proud of him and his dedication to working with the people of his new community to build a bridge of peace and hope. Thanks to each Peace Corps Volunteer past and present. You are truly making this a better world.