If you were to check the weather in Bolgatanga, only 10 miles from where we stay in Kongo, you would see that it did not get to 100° today for the first time since we’ve been here. In fact the high temperatures are supposed to stay in the 90s until we leave. I just now opened the windows to get the cooling 80° breeze of early evening and found two not-so-sweet-smelling donkeys, a mother and baby, immediately outside the window.
While Tuesday involved getting down to the nitty-gritty as far as planning the food purchases for school feeding programs, Monday was spent on the road. One of the school administrators picked me up for the Moto ride Agoruk school for a meeting with the cooks and (reviewing the menu and getting ready to go shopping in the Bolga market on Friday). The Headmaster took me aside to say several new students had already shown up at the school since word has gotten out that there will be feeding. On the way we passed one of the dry season farms that just got an irrigation pump. We also passed by a farmer bathing ‘au natural’ at a borehole (sorry, no photo)-with school started he probably didn’t think anybody would pass by.
The region is definitely in the midst of the harmattan season. Strong winds from the Sahara desert several hundred miles to the north blow nearly all day. The air is hazy with gritty dust and humidity must be close to 0%. David and I are happy to trade less heat for more dust, but Ghanaians strongly dislike the harmattan. They find the 70° nights unbearably cold and school even starts late so the students don’t have to walk in the “cold”. And as a culture where people are always bathing, washing clothes, and sweeping their houses, the dust makes for a lot of extra work.
The afternoon was consumed by shopping in the Bolga market for food staples for the small children at the Kongo Nutrition Center. For the 26 malnourished children identified at the Kongo Clinic, we will provide feeding for three months with a budget of $1000. (It’s believed that the World Food Program will provide food at 3 month supply by March.) The market here is definitely not like a trip to Costco, in fact it’s like every picture of a bustling outdoor market in the developing world that you’ve ever seen-wandering cows/goats/sheep/pigs, closely packed people on motorcycle/bicycles/walking, clouds of dust, market women selling every conceivable type of goods, all under the blazing sun. Twice, market ladies hastily pulled this “not so bright” white lady (me) out of the path of a wandering cow headed to sample the millet/steal a morsel of yam. I’ve really got to improve at watching for those cows. At least I will be getting plenty of practice on Friday and Monday when shopping for school feeding is happening.
Thank goodness David had dinner ready when I got home. Later on a farmer came to pick up his irrigation pump. It is really gratifying to see how much they appreciate getting these pumps.
I’m hoping David will write a blog soon about all the help given to students. I think all of you donors would be quite happy with the number of people helped in various ways.