6 Jan 2014
Hope your foot is recovering very well, I am wishing you a quick recovery so that you can get to your best, it's not good to have that experience in life, but God will be with you all the way.
Happy New Year to you and all the family, best wishes and love to all of them.
We did not go on the 28 December because I was not feeling well with a bad cold and a bit of headache, but am back to my best and we went the following weekend
We return home from our trek yesterday which is so good and we both very happy.
In Sintet they still gave us a very warm welcome, but half of that cassava we show is all eaten up and they now have only a small amount to dry for the moment.
In Jarra Karantaba (not the one we postpone when you here because is very far the road - that one is Kiang Karantaba) we met the Mari Darbo group who have a very good cabbage, okra and sweet potatoes. Normally they only have them during the rains but they water them very well and they are almost ready for harvest. They are very happy to have the dryer - we had a very wonderful programme with nice food too.
In Dasilame Jarra, we do the handing-over at their garden. They too have a very very wonderful garden with lots and lots of different vegetables. Last year I gave them some carrot seeds and they tried them and they worked. They bought more this year and now they have a very large space of carrots and it comes very good, I think I will tell more groups to grow the same. There will be more vegetables for you to look at when you visit the garden next.
We also have pepper sauce, melon juice training in Jasong. In Dasilame we did pepper sauce and paw-paw jam as mangoes are not ready yet.
This weekend we will be going to Gunjur, Aronke and Dunbutu where the groups are very in need of dryers as the tomatoes, okra and cabbage are almost ready so we decided to go ahead before having a break.
If possible we will visit the "pot" village but it is just on the south of Cassamance. I will see if there is a better way of reaching them.
A lot of news but I don't want to write a long mail when I don't know how your foot is going on - you might like a good rest and it might be too tiring for you to keep on reading longer mail.
Thank you so much and once more I wish you a quick recovery and get to your best.
*Fatou is Barbara's Gambian name.
18 Jan 2014
I should have written this mail earlier but as I told you there is something that will surprise you on our street when you come next. I was with the people working on that because I will be away when they will be doing it.
The Gunjur women are very very happy. They didn't understand when we said a solar dryer and when they saw it they cannot believe it and they make a nice dance for most of the day. They start drying their okra straightaway in our present after we told them how to do it.
From there we travel to Jarsong instead of Aronkon, We should give Aronkon but in Jarsong their cassava is ready and they are very in need of it. They are not happy in Aronkon as they are looking forward and they are ahead of Jarsong on the list but sometimes I have to give chance to groups whose vegetables or fruit are about to spoil.
Back to Dembut village they only have sweet potatoes as their soil is not very good for other things. When they have this dryer they asked for another as they will only be drying sweet potatoes. They say they will use one for drying the community potatoes and the other will be used for each compound to dry their own for food, I told them I only have one dryer for each village but that I will talk to you but with no promise.
In Buren they made a very nice tomato jam and pepper. It is one of the very good training we have done, they listen with no talking and is not a large group,
In Bintan there was a very large group and it was a bit noisy during training. But they had a very good idea - during the mango season, or even now, they will make a lot of jam, which they will send it to the school. There their children and children from other villages can also have a taste of the jam when they buy it - one dalassi a spoonful. So that all the children who want it are able to have it which is a very good idea.
My time is up and I haven't finish telling you all the good news. We will be going next weekend instead of waiting for sometime in February because most villages are ready with their gardens and they need the dryers and training now. So off we go next week Saturday.
Thank you once more.
Barbara and Sarjo's Trek Reports and experiences.