Wednesday, August 20, 2008

outplanting spree

more rain! hooray. i am almost regretful of the fact that i'm getting out of the village on friday.

this morning -- when it wasn't raining (it started about an hour ago) -- i went out and dug holes for 20 trees. i sweated a lot but it was good. i came back exhausted and dirty and covered in grime, showered, and then chilled (including a nap) until lunch. right before lunch a strong wind started to blow in -- a little freaky (remnants of my childhood fear of wind)-- and heavy clouds started to enter the sky.

we had lunch (which was actually good!) and the doors were getting slammed shut by the wind and everybody was running around getting ready for the rain. i was worried that the rain would ruin the holes i had spent all morning measuring and digging so i started to look for trees for outplanting. it started to drizzle.

talla came and helped me get my trees together. they've gotten so big that their roots are bursting out of the bag and desperately need to be clipped before outplanted and somebody gave him a great pair of pruning shears (i wish i had a pair!) which was far better than the quasi-sharp knife i was planning on using. we then went on an outplanting spree as the rain fell on us and everybody came out to watch.

it was slightly thrilling...and slightly obnoxious because the kids were noisy and i was cold and it was rushed and i generally like to outplant slowly and methodically. nonetheless, it got done and the trees were in their new homes being watered by the sweet rain. talla and i are like best friends now, which is great...although he still takes on an instructional tone with me. but maybe i am growing as a person -- i've learned to deal with it and while i notice it, it doesn't really bother me unless i am in a cantankerous mood (usually caused these days by my allergies to the flowering crops and/or the ceaseless crying from the 3 youngest children in the family).

it feels good to work and amazing to plant trees in the African soil...and years from now i can remember that the trees i planted are still growing and still providing beautiful benefits to my village (Inshallah...if the goats don't get to them). its been such a saga with these trees -- the pepineer, the struggles with talla, the lack of rain, the task (plant trees in senegal) in and of itself was daunting...and now it's finally come together and i have an incredibly clear idea of how i will conduct next year's work.

after we were done planting trees, talla stopped by my hut -- he can see my papaya growing taller than my fence now and wanted to see it. he also got to see all the trees in my yard that i've lovingly made into a little haven of trees when it was once only sand and cement. he seemed quite delighted by my 1 papaya (which is actually not a tree), 2 Leucaena leucaephala, 1 Moringa oleifera, 2 bombardiers (i forget the latin name), 1 flamboyant (Delonix regia), 4 mangoes (Mangifera indica), 5 tebananes (Jatropha curcas), a patch of basil, and a wall of cucumber plants. no doubt he'll probably move into this hut when it ceases to house volunteers so he will have a beautiful little yard to grow old in...and i feel like that's the best gift of thanks i can give.

aside from smelling bad (i'm still in my work clothes with hopes that the rain will stop in an hour or two and let me have a few more hours of labor -- i want to start my garden in the valley) and being badgered by flies and my wisdom tooth (the other one is coming in!) -- i'm quite happy and content right now and the two years i've given in lieu of making money and going to grad school and the comforts of urban life and cosmopolitan luxury feel worth it. its moments like this that i really love my job and wouldn't give this up for all the good food in the world.

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