There’s Fieldwork and then there’s Fieldwork!

It hadn’t occurred to me until a colleague at the Language Islands in Africa workshop suggested the fieldwork connection so I can’t take full credit for the pun, nor for our farm’s successful start! Rainy season’s abundance has brought with it a bounty of fruits already and we’ve only begun to make preparations for our own plants. Today I planted hundreds of flower cuttings around the land’s perimeter for a live fence to strengthen the one Momo and crew installed. I do recall how, during linguistic field work, passers-by would also make suggestions about my work ethic and laziness sitting in the shade asking for words while they went to the fields. Though at the time I was offended, after this first real day of real fieldwork, I can understand their point of view.

Beyond the bureaucracy like borrowing customs officer’s cars, I adore Africa. And combining the two careers here that make me most happy and fulfilled is the gift of a lifetime! All of this easier to say now that we’ve finally acquired my most precious belongings from my hitherto lost luggage such as sensitive skin sun block and insect repellent, not to mention the new ⚽ ball I brought along. Yesterday was team Kaïra Kunda vs the beach boys. Of course we ruled the beach and then hijacked some kid’s paddle board though none of us could actually manage to stand in the rainy season’s waves, all of us that is except our own international driver Laimso! He can really drive anything it seems! Including through the flooded paths to Kaïra Kunda with a car full of coconut trees.

I common question I was asked before coming here was what were we going to plant for our first rainy season? Interestingly, this is a hot topic of debate between Momo, Bamba (our farm manager), and me. Momo sees the fact that Senegalese love to eat fruits while Bamba and I are advocating for the necessity of vegetables. It’s true that many villagers especially don’t see the value in eating anything beyond proteins and carbs for meals with fruits for snacks, but that doesn’t mean they don’t unknowingly suffer for it. So, do we cater to the population’s wants or their needs?


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