Stories from the Field: Burkina Faso

Turning the Sahel into a Garden: Hot, dry and dusty are the most descriptive words that describe the current state of Ouagadougou.  One can sense it wants to rain so badly and indeed we have had two rains, however the ground is so hot and crusted it just seems to evaporate within hours and it is as dry and dusty as it was before the thunderstorm. 

The Site!

When the rains does come next month we should be very well prepared.  Even though this is the hottest time of the year we have managed to start building the garden and have about 20 beds done and plants already growing.  We will be finishing our first class of 10 people this week and starting the next group soon after. 

Getting the Beds Ready

The parcel of land that was granted to the DIG project is one hectare which is a lot of space for a garden.  At the moment we are going to try and maximize a quarter of the space for a typical vegetable garden and use the rest of the space for some field crops during the rainy season. Our biggest challenges thus far have been securing a site this large and sourcing water.  We have spent five days building a fence which is almost done and the site was surveyed for water this two weeks ago and the digging of the well is taking place this week.  Digging the well will be done by hand and will be about 15-20 meters deep.  That is a job that I am thankful I will not be doing. 

Two of the Women Planting Seeds!
Water Tank which will be use with the Well

This group has been working extremely hard to create something for themselves under extreme heat and sun.  We start very early in the morning and work until about 1pm then have our theoretical training and lunch before calling it a day.  Everyone is very excited about the garden and how it is going to improve their well-being. Seeds have been planted and some transplanting will happen this week so we should have some of our first vegetables by the end of June.  Transforming such an arid place into something productive and beautiful for people in such need really motivates oneself to get up and face the heat and beating sun one more day.

All the best,