Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I haven’t written a post in a while, sorry about that, and now I’m really just not sure what exactly to write…

Mango season is just beginning and I am taking full advantage of it.  Yesterday I ate four mangoes, but don’t worry it was spread throughout the day.  I still cannot figure out if that is more or less appropriate than the three I ate two days ago but all in a row.  My village is blessed with so many mango orchards of both native and grafted varieties.  Some people even have two or three mango orchards.  When they get a whole bunch of mangoes ripe at the same time they bring them into Tamba to sell, but in the meantime they pick a few and eat them, give them away, throw them, feed them to livestock, whatever they want at the time.  Adults here like mangoes but due to growing up with a mango season every year they’re not obsessed with them quite like me.  Usually mangoes are given away to the children but I guess I’m not good at hiding how much I love being given a mango, so recently lots of people have been giving me mangoes.  I realize that sounds bad, like I’m stealing mangoes from hungry children, but, well, I have no excuse except to say that I really love mangoes.  Think about it in utilitarianism terms, I like mangoes more than the children, so they should be given to me!  But honestly, sometimes I do feel guilty, then I see  mangoes being thrown away and realize there are more than enough to go around at the moment so I should just enjoy… :)

That reminds me of my solar fruit drier adventure.  I thought that to deal with all the excess of fruit at one time, but lack thereof at other times, a fruit drier would be useful.  We seem to have an excess of sun here in Senegal so I wanted to make it solar powered.  I recruited one of my friends to come and help me construct the drier, tempting her into my village with the promise of all you can eat cashew apples.  We bought all the supplies we needed in Tamba, then got a PC car and driver to transport them to Madjaly.  The driver was doing us a favor and was in a bit of a rush so we didn’t ask him to stop and get the lumber we had bought cut into thinner pieces with the table saw located at another shop in Tamba.  We figured it couldn’t be all that hard to do.  Well, the next morning we looked at our two four meter long boards, our dull saw, and our pruning saw, and immediately regretted our decision.  Don’t ever let anyone talk you into cutting eight meters of lumber in half the long way with improper equipment in the hot season.  However, if you do find yourself in that situation cut the boards into the length you want first, then cut it in half.  It’s much better for your moral and makes the work seem to go by faster.  We thought we were doing so well when we realized all our pieces would be cut before lunch.  We felt empowered and had visions of finishing everything in one day!  After lunch all we had to do was nail the boards together, put up some mesh shelving, and slap on a bit of black paint.  Considering how easily these nails went into this wood, we were golden.  What we didn’t realize was that when nails go into wood easily, they can also come out of it easily.  We were so surprised when, having constructed one side of the frame in no time or effort, it began to fall apart as we constructed the other side.  The force of the hammer pounding nails in on one half of the frame pushed the nails on the other half out of the wood.  Neither of us had experienced anything like this problem before (not that either of us are extremely experienced in woodwork).  We were not even looking at the other half of our frame when pieces started falling off.  It was a bit embarrassing.  The entire day my family had been stealing skeptical glances at the two white girls trying to build something, waiting for us to fail.  We thought we were going to fool them but now what they had always known was coming true.  We kept trying for a few hours but eventually became so frustrated, hot, blistered, and covered in sawdust that we had to call it a day.  My friend had to leave the next day (I keep telling myself I didn’t scare her away) and the solar fruit drier and I were no longer on speaking terms, so it still has not been completed.  But during our break I’ve been brainstorming ways to save this relationship and have got some ideas.  I will update you with the progress once I tackle this project again…

1 comment:

  1. you didn't scare me away! I hope the solar drier is recovering... Happy Easter