A familiar sound that gives peace and harmony in the soul.
This year, however, we know that there is not much sense to leave the farm. There is not much grass or other greens to find. The rains did not come as they should during the last rainy season, and now it’s more than six months since the last rain came.
This causes problems for both animals and humans. There’s nothing to eat. Prices are rising. The animals are of course the very first to make do with straw, and they are forced to do their best to find their own feed – which also leads to devastation…
We drove past the President’s land that is fenced. There, the difference shows clearly between the land where animals graze and where they can not reach. The animals are a major contributing factor to desertification because they eat everything they can access now when there is nothing left!
Even when you try to use agricultural improvement methods, nature’s own whims are inevitable. But you can do things to mitigate the damage and secure the best you can.
- There was a cereal bank in the village, but today it is empty. This year it could not be filled as the harvest does not cover the needs of the families. Last time there was a drought and they were given corn, the donors said that it was absolutely forbidden to charge for the grain. The traditional system of cereal bank in which you collect cereal when there is a lot and then sell at low price to the members in need, is a way to secure refill and independence.
- The water supply must be secured. There is a deep drilled well that provides drinking water, but we need more parallel projects covering up even other types of water needs. This current damm project, where we hope that the damm will hold water all year around is to allow the animals to drink and enable the cultivation of vegetables and more.
- Tree planting has been organized through out the years. Now a new project is coming up. Tree planting counteract desertification and deforestation. Trees improve the environment and the soil. Trees provide shade, and many trees also provide nutritious fruits and nuts.
- Livestock production also needs to be reviewed. Free grazing animals are devastating all living plants.
The morning before I had to leave (for this time) the village Nakamtenga, AFN held a meeting. AFN: Youth Association in which I am proud honorary member. They have started off in rocket speed and are to be felicitated for the organization of the football coup, we have previously written about here on the blog!
I asked what the next step is for the AFN. “It is to plant trees. As soon as the rainy season starts, we will start planting trees. We promise that next time you come, you will see a clear difference in our village! It will be greener! ”
I leave Nakamtenga with grief for having to leave these great friends and Yennenga Networkers, but also full of joy and energy thanks to all the creativity and power of the Yennenga Networkers taking responsibility, working together, organizing fun things that brings people together, and at the same time not avoiding the difficult questions!
There are certainly lots of more things we could do to create the oasis of our dreams in this desert village. We are grateful for all suggestions we receive. Water is essential for life.