Thursday, August 25, 2011


Dear readers,

It's been far too long. Any whilst I can't think of anything specific or significant to write about, I figured I had to break the seal or you might just never hear anything from me again.


Slowly enough as not to be immediately recognised, but quickly enough to be quite stunning indeed, rains have changed northern Ghana from a place that looks like this

to a place that looks like this (featured here is Francis, basically my favourite farmer ever).

It's not all peaches and jello and fresh cream though. The rains are by my reckoning between one and two months late this year, which is a lot of trouble for everyone.

Farmer or not, just about everyone here grows millet, corn and perhaps rice during the three months of rain, to eat during the rest of the year. The maths is simple: if it don't rain, people don't eat.

Fortunately, the rains have finally come. In fact, against all odds these late rains are much too heavy, which is just as bad as being not heavy enough. They're flooding crop land and causing erosion. A few nights ago, a huge storm put a foot of standing water in Bolga town.


I'm busier than ever. I really enjoy working for my super amazing boss (foreground) and with my super amazing colleague (behind him), here meeting some nice farmers who we tested solar-electric powered irrigation equipment with.

Some interesting projects I'm working on are different systems of powered irrigation: one of the more promising avenues we're looking to test is on-grid electric pumping.

Another exciting project is to simultaneously increase tillage capacity and create local business opportunities by using Asia-style two wheeled tractors. We're still doing studies and putting numbers together but it looks promising.

(Anna, my super amazing colleague demonstrates)


I've also learnt over the last couple of months how important it is to take breaks and holidays to keep strong and keep going. I had a fantastic two weeks in Maine/Cambridge, and I am eternally grateful to everyone who made it a great time. If you're reading this, you probably know who you are.

That's all I have the energy to write right now. If you're reading this,...thanks for reading. I'll leave you with a picture I took the other day:

(If you look really close, you can see a double rainbow)

PS despite being slow on the blog, I think I've been pretty good about posting interesting stuff to my google reader feed, so check that out too!