Earth and concrete ponds
At the previous meeting John told us how the earth fish ponds had been dredged by 10 young men so that they could be stocked with juvenile fish. At the meeting on Tuesday he told us that they were unable to get buy the 8 week old fish they had planned but have purchased 2,000 4 week old fingerlings which will be reared and harvested in the earth ponds. But earth ponds are no use when the rains start as they will get clogged up and overflow, and the fish will be lost into the River Wonderful which flows past the Attachab land. For the rainy season they will need to get the concrete ponds ready for use.
Preparing the land
The Attachab land which is about 15 km from the Fantsuam headquarters lies in the central to Northern area of Nigeria where about half the year there are months of dry weather followed by months when there are very heavy rains. At the moment it is very hot but people are making preparations for the start of the rainy season. The fast tractor is being used to plough the land so that it will be ready for planting. Seed is sown when the rains are due to arrive. This is a worrying time for everyone. If the rains come late then the seed will be burned by the sun and more seed will have to be obtained. If the rains are too heavy when they first arrive then the seed will be washed away. Rain fall is very localised and people watch anxiously as dark clouds pass by overhead wondering if the rain will fall on their land or their neighbours.
The Hunger Months
Food from last year has been harvested and the new seed has yet to be planted. There is a long time till the next harvest so these months are called the hunger months when families are dependent on grains that have been stored. 'Friends of Nigeria' is an organisation of volunteers from the United States who previously worked in Nigeria and who have sponsored projects at Fantsuam Foundation among other organisations. They sponsored silos where grains could be safely stored especially for the needs of children . Most recently they sent more money so that grains could be purchased at a reasonable price and stored and used in these hunger months. As the year goes on and the grain begins to run out then the price increases, so this is a good time to buy. This timely assistance is very much appreciated.