Monday, 28 April 2008

April Showers

Sulemia zaare! Bulika! Na baa! La an wani? La an sung!
Welcome white lady! Good morning! How are you! I'm fine!
Every encounter has to start like this.

The internet connection for all of Bolga was down the whole of last week, and the power supply is sporadic today, but I am determined to update this blog today, however long it takes!

The schools are on vacation this week, a late Easter holidays, so my work is postponed til next week. Just before the break we had a wonderful SMC traing session, sitting in the shade under a tree where it is cooler.

There was also a really successful fund raising event to raise funds for a new nursery (see photo in previous post), with lots of local entertainment. I was given a guineafowl the next day - alive! as a thankyou for attending the event.

I have taken the opportunity of the schools being closed to travel in the Volta Region, a chain of hills running down the east side of the lake. It was a real treat to be in lush green vegetation, with plants actually growing, and a bit cooler, especially in the evenings. We have had a couple more torrential storms in the Upper East, but the ground is still too dry for planting to start yet. The goats and sheep and cattle which are just left raoming by day, are having a real struggle tyo find grass to eat. Many families in rural areas are also facing real hunger because of the failure of last year's harvest. Everyone is looking forward to the rainy season due to start soon. Plus all the mosquitoes and other insects!
Volta Region
Upper East
It was interesting to travel around Lake Volta, including cutting across the bottom of the lake by motorised canoe. This is a trip that depends on flexible timing - you have to be patient while you wait for a 38-seater bus to fill up before it leaves - I waited six and a half hours in Nkwanta.

I was also really pleased to see the famous colourful Kente cloth being woven,which is different from the striped woven cloths we get in the north.

But of course, nothing compares with the style and variety of the famous Bolga baskets!

A local millipede!

Hope the Spring is finally arriving for you all at home, some warm weather is coming, and plants can start growing again for us all!!!!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Easter news

April so soon! the months go by so quickly!

Life has been much quieter since Jessie left at the end of February - she had such a brilliant visit here. I have really settled into my work, visiting a lot of schools and arranging training for the school management committees and PTAs, which is challenging but also good fun, going out to distant villages along dusty red roads, and meeting wonderful people and smiling children.

Aside from work, there are always a few other distractions, such as Independence Day on March 6, celebrated with a public holiday and parades of hundreds of proud school children and security services on the playing field. A wonderful, though dusty, display.

For Easter I travelled to the Upper West Region, visiting other volunteers, and visiting the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary. The hippos stayed under the water, only a couple of nostrils visible, but sleeping out in the forest on a viewing platform halfway up a tree was fantastic, all the natural bird sounds and not a chicken or guinea fowl to be heard! I also visited the Wa Na's palce, sadly in a really bad state of repair, and lived in mostly by goats, and a very old (1516) mosque which is in a much better state. A long and bumpy journey to get there, but beautiful landscape.

We have recently had 2 amazing thunderstorms, so there are just the first signs of regrowth coming, exceptionally early this year. The rains won't start properly for another month or so. The landscape is still so dry, river beds dried up, and the days and nights are so hot. Sweaty, or what!!!