Hey sorry I have not blogged in forever. I am not lying when I say I am BUSY! Wait you can be busy in PC? Apparently yes.Let me try and catch you up!
Attending Shea conference in Abidjan finding a turtle capable of eating more mango's than a PCV
(sadly we spent 95% of the time working/attending speakers/networking/in traffic) I must go back someday!
Attending other important conferences.... Just Kidding!
Working on my thesis.
building hot season forts.
Gardening. Gardening. Farming. Gardening.
LIFE IS SO ROUGH!
So everything was going swell and busy. Then I had some pain and lumpiness on my lower back and next thing I know I am having surgery on an abscess. I spent three days in a nice Accra hospital PC flew me down (which was hard because I couldn't sit) I AM FINE NOW....well except for the hole basically on my butt. I am doing everything I can to get better ASAP. I cannot wait to get back up North. It should heal in 1-4 weeks. I am aiming for one. This really screws with my media IST, research, spending as much time as possible in my village time.
(I know you wanted to see it )
So I am being taken care of very well hopefully I will have news soon on my health as well as extension with Star Shea. Until then I feel fine but just have to take tons of antibiotics and sleep on my stomach. My sitting skills are improving in case your were wondering. FYI there are many ways to sit without actually sitting on your tailbone. I have become an expert.
Yeah much easier to do work here than in the village for my thesis.
NEWS for those of you I do not talk to on a regular basis
- I want to stay in Africa for a third year with Star Shea and Peace Corps working on amazing projects out of Tamale while defending and finishing my thesis in lovely house ( water! Electricity!) This means I will not have to say goodbye completely to Tigla considering Star Shea works there. So I can go visit often. I am not ready to leave them. SORRY if I do not come home. Staying is the perfect situation school, work, and happiness wise. I will miss everyone as usual....blah...blah...( seriously you know how much I love you if you are one of the chosen). Nothing is final yet.
- On July 23rd I fly to Turkey for 2 weeks where I get to see Mr. Logan Brosky then either back to Ghana or the USA
-My Counterpart Razak had his baby. Burkisu give birth while I was away at the Shea IST. Introducing baby Hamsatu.
-Sorry no video
So here is part of my quarterly report and thesis so you can see what I am doing. Also I had to type up a list of projects I have done for my supervisor so you can just have that then we will call it a blog.
The first part of the report is informal and an update on my life, same as my project list for my supervisor. All the thesis stuff you can skip over unless you are interested in my work.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. So here is the part that is boring.
*******DISCLAIMER the following is all DRAFTS!!!!******** I hope that keeps me out of trouble.
Lets stop there.
Emily Adams, Tigla Peace Corps Volunteer Project Update
Summary of Shea nut roaster and New Mill grant.
We received funding for a new mill and three roasters. The mill was purchased
from GRATIS and the community is building a new structure to house the mill and
GRASTIS will assist with installation and a 6-month warranty.
This grant will provide the women’s shea group of Tigla with shea nut roasters to
improve shea butter processing and quality while reducing the labor required by the
women to process the butter. In Tigla Shea nuts and butter are the most valued cash
crop. Women begin gathering and processing shea nuts in April until the end of the
season in August. Unlike other local crop such as maize and groundnuts women store
shea nuts and continue to process butter throughout the entire year. Shea butter
plays a large role in food security as well as women and family income. The shea
butter is the main source of cooking oil for families as well as an income-generating
crop. To process shea butter large amounts of fire wood and labor are required. Shea
nut roasters reduce the amount of firewood and time required to roast the nuts. The
roaster also prevents nuts from burning and increases the oil extraction from the nut
helping the women to produce higher quality butter as well as increasing their yield
form the nuts collected. The roasters can also be used for the other main crop in
Tigla; groundnuts. In the farming community of Tigla in the Northern Region of
Ghana the main source of income is from the agricultural production on groundnuts,
shea, maize, and millet. The community mill was used to grind shea for butter
production, maize for teezet, millet for poridge, and groundnuts for paste. Processing
these crops plays an important role in the food security of Tigla. Many times this year
the mill in Tigla failed. The local operator named Dawoda fixed it each time. But
while the mill was out of commission the woman ( and three other villages) walked 10-12km to a neighboring village to mill their crops for either consumption or to sell. To ensure sustainability when a community members pays to use the mill the majority of the funds will go into a 3 lock box. This lock box (like that used for (VSLA) will have locks for the chief, the Wulana (male elder), and the Magashea (women’s leader). When the mill requires new parts or maintenance funds can be removed from the box to keep the mill running. This would let Dawoda keep his job, the community to have access to a mill year round, and the village will build up funds to ensure sustainability.
The food security tasks force provides seed grants to volunteers with school gardens. I applied for seeds and received money to purchase them in Accra. I gave them to Ibrahim and look forward to working in the garden and with the feeding program next term. When I am not at training or a conference I usually bike to Diapale to visit the garden one or two times a week.
To sell shea nuts or butter to a global market you have to produce a large quantities of quality product. We organized womens groups in Tigla, Dinga, Adayilli, and Kpanga. They have been attending meetings in Tigla and also meetings with Star Shea (a buyer and training facilitator). The first training was April 25th and all the women will be meeting in Tigla. The next hands on training for quality and processing will be in May. If all goes well this year they will receive pre financing so they have means to store thier nuts and sell them on the international market and receive the highest fair trade price for their nuts and butter.
IST (In Service Training)
As training coordinator of the shea committee and President of PCV Media I am in Charge of planning two IST’s.
Shea IST May 19-20th at the GILBT center in Tamale
I will be bringing two community members from Tigla to attend.
This year we will focus on processing quality. As peace corps volunteers in the northern regions we have the opportunity to empowers women shea nut collectors by promoting best practices in collection and processing each year. Star Shea performs trainings in villages to demonstrate the best practices of shea nut collecting. Our goal for this IST it to give volunteers and their counterparts the opportunity to learn extensive quality
training, carried out in the field by trainers armed with industry reviewed best practices, this will lead to obtaining better nut quality, including methods of collection, processing, and storage. This IST will help PCVs and counterparts learn how to benefit women collectors through improving the value of their shea nuts for sale and increasing their access to international markets. We will also incorporate Sonia's new toolkit and other existing peace corps shea toolkit resources for volunteers and counterparts who have not
received shea training.
PCV media IST June 16-22nd at the GILBT center in Tamale
See out work at https://www.youtube.com/user/PCAVGhana
I am working on new training videos for admin at the moment as well as a large HIV/AIDS documentary. I spent a week in Accra before All vol working on pre production. We shot multiple educational videos and podcasts at the All Volunteer conference. In the past few months I have finished a video on operation smile, grassroots soccer, and helped with the Kayayei documentary among many other projects.
BLOG COMPLETE! Now it is back to work thesis-ing and video editing!
BLOG COMPLETE! Now it is back to work thesis-ing and video editing!