Monday, July 16, 2012

The work is here only

So, this week Kawsu (Darrin) and I spent 5 days helping distribute rice and oil rations to farmers in 3 different districts which experienced crop failures and have been deemed food insecure. The World Food Program basically hired local NGOs to staff these distributions, which is great, but the learning curve is a little steep. How hard can it be? I initially thought, not realizing that managing all the data by hand (no electricity or computers in the field) would be insanely time consuming! Not to mention managing large crowds of people, many of whom have the same name (one small village had at least 6 guys with the exact same name - good thing we had ID numbers to compare and the village's alkalo to help sort them out (the alkalo is like the mayor - but here they usually know everyone). Not to mention the rations involved measuring fractions of kilograms of oil (which begs the question: who on earth would choose to measure oil in kilograms?). Both Kawsu and I were applauded for our superior math skills in being able to portion food and also to calculate stock losses at the end of the day. I don't think we have awesome skills though - it's just that we were working with many people who quite possibly hadn't done math since 6th grade or so. Or maybe they were never taught fractions? At any rate, after several 10 to 12 hour days, we were exhausted and glad to be done. The fun will start all over again next month, when more rations are distributed, but our teams will be more seasoned and ready to jump right in, so maybe it will feel less exhausting!

link to WFP's Gambia page, if anyone is curious:

Incidentally, one day when Kawsu's food distribution team was travelling to their distribution site in the back of a pick-up truck, the truck ran over a guinea fowl that had wandered into the road. They stopped and picked it up, then gave it to the alkalo's wife when they got to the village and then she cooked it for their lunch! Kawsu was particularly excited, because he is sick of fish, which is what's for lunch 99.9% of the time...

obligatory cute kitten picture

1 comment:

  1. What's the kitten's name? When you're handing out rations is it solemn like bread lines, or matter-of-fact like a line at the bank?