Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hard Work

If you've ever wondered what the Cameroonian way of doing something, just imagine the most difficult, back-breaking, time-consuming, and most importantly CHEAP way, and you're probably on the right track. I am not trying to be disparaging, the simple truth is that where people here lack in monetary capital, they make up for it with their own labor. The easy way is avoided for the cheap or free way.

How do you make gravel? You sit down on a pile of big rocks and hit them with a hammer until you are sitting on a pile of much smaller rocks. How do you till your field? With a bent, backwards shovel. What's for dinner? Njamma njamma, a green that you spend two and a half hours harvesting and picking through before you even get to the point of cooking. And how do you save your corn once you have harvested it? By scraping off every kernel with your hands.

Because we harvested corn this year, and because we can't possibly eat it all, we also have to scrape off all the corn. It's a family affair. We don't even have that much, because we don't have to grow all we eat. We're "rich" enough to be able to buy the food we need.

Our garden has been helping our diet. It's wonderful knowing where your food comes from. The carrots don't have an "organic" label when we pull them out of the ground, but they are delicious. We've recently been transitioning our garden for the dry season: planting where there is sun (because most of our rainy season garden is mostly in the shade now), planting close to the tap so we can water the plants, planting crops that can deal with the drought, etc.

We've planted cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, some melons and pumpkins and cucumber, more cilantro and radishes beets and carrots and leeks and even a few eggplants. And garlic! And onions, and green beans, and tomatoes... and don't forget the wheat! I hope the goats don't eat it all before we can get a fence up. We have a fence around our main garden now, but the goats are already into the wheat field.

We're trying to grow some fruit trees and vines, for us and for the future occupants of this house. We're also working on the flowers around our house and in our courtyard, taking cuttings and sticking them in the ground... they just grow! There's so much rain, plants can really take off without much help. The soil isn't always great, and is often depleted and needs a lot of manure to help it take off, but you can't argue with the climate.


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