Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teacher Amara brushing his farm

Teacher Amara taught in the St. Paul's Primary School in Kenema. Here he is brushing in preparation to make a rice farm. Teacher Amara had the reputation as an excellent teacher. His farm was near the primary school and one Sunday I tried to help him as he brushed the bush with his machete. I had purchased my machete from a black smith in nearby Tokpombu. He and I went at the brushing but very soon my hand became blistered. After a short time I had to quit as my hands were not used to the work. I also remember it being incredibly hot and humid on that day. My skills with the machete were limited and my hand lacked callouses for protection. However I did gain an appreciation for how very hard this work was, and how the climate made it even more challenging. Although Teacher Amara was not a farmer, he had done work like this most of his life - as was true of every Mende boy. Here he made farm in order to feed his family. Buying rice in the market could get expensive and teacher's salaries were low. A teacher who could make farm, and grow rice, could save on expenses considerably.

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