Saturday, June 13, 2009

Teacher Amara brushing his farm

Teacher Amara brushes his farm with his machete. In those days there was no mechanization. Farm work was (and probably still is) laborious. Notice how thick the brush is - this is very typical of an upland farm. After cutting the brush - the next step is to burn the brush. These cleared areas are then planted with rice seed on soil similar to what you see in this picture at Teacher Amara's feet. This is hard work!

On a hot and humid Sunday Teacher Amara came to our house to take me to the bush where he had been given land to make a farm. A primary school teacher, Teacher Amara's salary was limited and when this plot came up he jumped at the opportunity to plant rice. Rice farming on the upland is hard and here he is shown brushing the bush to get it ready to burn as the first step in getting his farm ready for planting. Teacher Amara was personable.  I offerred my help which although genuine on my part was a personal mistake. My hands were not used to the hard work - they were not tough enough. I did own a machete that I had made in nearby Tokpombu. However the blisters that I soon developed made the work close to impossible and after about a half hour of my brushing I was forced to give up as my hand was turning to raw meat. Oh well - Teahcer Amara appreciated my attempt although I must admit that my hand remained sore and raw for a few weeks.  

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