As Assistant Coordinator of AVN Senegal I am in charge of research and development on training and technical issues and co-manage deployment in the field while assisting with strategy and networking.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Photo Essay

Sunrise on my walk to the farm

Local hooligans who helped me set up my rabbit hutch in my yard (see hutch in background). Pop built it out of sticks, and with just a bit of work to wire shut some gaps and build a door it was rabbit-ready. I bought the rabbits in the local capital, Kaolack, since there were none in my subregion. The rabbits and I caught a first-class ride in a Peace Corps car that was conveniently headed to my neck of the bush.

Final product. The sheet is for shade, not just stellar aesthetics

Male rabbit: aka Gerard

Female rabbit: aka Lola

My plan is to let these two grow up a bit (they are 3-4 months old) then begin cranking about bunny babies. I'm currently feeding them a mix of corn/millet/ leftover rice and plenty of sweet potato leaves.

The mice plaguing my room didn't see it coming. They had apparently grown complacent in their years of luxurious crumb-eating life in this hut. No previous experience or training had prepared them for the wrath of American made mouse traps in the hands of a kid who spent his middle school recesses trapping rats under the school. The first night I rigged up the trap (with my patented peanut butter-soaked string baiting method to snag their delicate teeth) I caught the foolhardy ringleader. What is better than catching a mouse on the first night? Catching two the second night.

 Photo-documentation of the extremely rare phenomenon of dousmus carnificinatum--two mice executed with a single trap

If you are a careful observer and perhaps cross-referenced this photo with the picture from my last entry you may have noticed this is a different puppy. While I was away for a week for my language seminar Pop gave away Blaze to a friend who was in need of a dog. But he got another puppy, even younger and smaller. I was never asked to give this puppy a name, it was just assumed this dog would be called "Blaze" as well.

Blaze seeking shade and water; two rare and precious commodities in Senegal.

My bed of snap peas and squash in which the soil was NOT amended, only dug and mixed to a depth of 18 inches.

 Bed beside it, given the same treatment but with the addition of ground peanut shells and manure. Watering can for size reference. The importance of amending the soil is well-known here, and I have seen manure used. It is more common, however, to buy small sacks of chemical fertilizer. Therefore a more useful comparison will be to have neighboring beds with the same treatments except one is given chemical fertilizer and the second is given manure. Then I could find out if the chemical fertilizer is any better than the natural alternative.

My garden

Pop's sweet potato trenches. He digs the trenches and mounds the soil, letting the adjacent pond fill in the rills to create beds full of sweet potatoes that only need to be watered once per week.

Pop's prolific onion production

Pop, a "seekur," and Blaze. This is the second time Pop has shot one of these creatures out in the forest, and the second time I have eaten my fill of meat since being here.

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