Sommalife - update I

Dear readers,

The first update of our project is here! We have been in Ghana for three weeks now and we are very far with the build of the nursery for the shea tree seedlings. In the first week we went to the community where the nursery is located, named Jambosie. This community is strategically chosen, because it is a central point for all three communities. These three communities will be using this nursery, and from there we will see what works and what does not work.

For a project you can plan everything ahead, but during the execution of a plan in a country as Ghana, you will figure out the most things during the process. During the process you will see how it really goes, what happens, what goes wrong, and everything will always happen differently then you have expected in the first place. That is why we are very happy that this is a pilot, so we can identify the do’s and the don’ts  During the nursery building we had help for a shea tree consultant, who works for the Global Shea Alliance and already built a lot of nurseries for shea seedlings.

Our day in Jambosie started out with creating more awareness. We had a meeting with the women of the community, where we also had time for fun and dancing, and after that we went to a meeting with the men of the community where we got permission for building the nursery. After this, the shea consultant told the women what is going to happen, why the nursery is build, and the importance of it. It was nice to see how enthusiastic the women were about the project, which is the most important thing since they are the ones that will execute and maintain the project.

Very quickly, the build of the nursery started, in which every step of the process was explained to the men of the communities which helped us building the nursery. In these traditional communities it is absolutely not done that women perform physically hard work. However, this will change since the women are the ones who will take care of the seedlings and eventually plant the shea trees in the ground.

The next steps were executed over a few days:
1. The construction of the nursery was made from wooden poles and little poles next to it were placed for the fencing. We helped in this process by setting the poles in the holes and putting little stones in it so it stays in the ground. We were not allowed to do more, because women don’t do hard physical labour here. Besides, when we are gone they will have to do it on their own so it is good they know how to.
2. The roof of the nursery was made of long grass, that was fetched in the neighbouring country Burkina Faso, which is a 10 minute drive.
3. The ground was ploughed so that the grounds are even.
4. The fence was installed, this will keep the wild animals from entering the nursery when the seedlings are planted.

Eventually, the materials used for building the nursery and also for using the nursery, such as the wheelbarrow and the watering cans, were handed over to the community. This way they know that they are responsible for the nursery and they know that they need to do the work when we are gone.

The nursery is set and ready to use! We are very proud on the work we delivered and the enthusiasms of everybody gives us a lot of energy to make this project a huge success!

See you at the next update!

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