By Judy Lorimer
has just returned from a month in Mali, West Africa, doing volunteer work for Save the Children.During her
kept a journal, which we will run as a series of columns about Mali and Lorimer's work there.Her
hope through this series is to educate our readers about what life in Rural Africa is like and to encourage you to consider sponsoring a child in the region, as she
does, at the cost of $1 a day.Until last year, Judy was a teacher in Harvard.
Now retired, she
lives in Pepperell.
When the previous installment of this series ended, I was with Save the Children's Community Development assistant, Makan Keita
, in the little village of Kotoula, to visit Sitan Kon, my sponsored child and her
family, and to observe the process of enrolling new students for sponsorship.
During the lunch break at the one permanent classroom in Kotoula, Sitan's uncle (her father died some years ago) came to take us on a tour of his
garden.So we walk through fields of cotton and rice, which have already been harvested by hand, to get to his
fenced-off plot.There are banana and papaya trees, and many cassava plants that are harvested for both the roots and the edible leaves, which are made into a sauce.He
also grows yams and sweet potatoes; in the United States the terms are used interchangeably, but they actually belong to different botanical families.
As we were leaving the garden, he
hacks off a huge bunch of bananas -- about a 3-foot long stalk -- and puts it in a large sack, along with some cassava, yams and sweet potatoes.