Donn’s Africa Adventure, column 1

9 08 2010
Post 1: Brussels Aug. 3 3:34pm central time, 10:34 Brussels time
Yep, I’m writing this from Brussels, danged Donn who has never traveled beyond the American borders in all his travels all these years besides Winnipeg a coupleof times. And shoot, Winnipeg hardly counts as out of the country.

It all started when I received an email sent out by National Farmers Union puttingout a call for participants in a “Farmer to farmer” program hosted by the NCBA (no, not the cattle group, the National Cooperative Business Assn.) They were requesting expert assistance in working with Senegal producers in their efforts to raise and market Millet. I thought that I would be a pretty good candidate for this effort, (except for the part about growing Millet) but Millet is quite a bit like Milo and I’ve grown quite a bit of Milo over the years. This is the part where my neighbors are all saying “he’s the crapiest farmer in the county what is he goingto do over there to help them out????”

Senegal ranks 156 out of 177 countries on the Human Development Index. Around 70% of the population are farmers and 63% of the population survives onless than $2 per day! WOW, talk about a need!

Anyhow I thought that this is a project I would like to do some day and decided to email them back and check it out. I figured if I put my name in that maybe it would happen over the winter or maybe next year. The email came out on July 8 and they shortly contacted me back wanting to know how soon they couldget me a ticket for Senegal! They wanted the project completed before the lastquarter of August!

As busy as this year has been and as far behind I always seem to be there just wasn’t any way that I could do this that fast, and I just couldn’t leave my cowsfor two weeks in the summer, right in the middle of good haying season! Then I thought, “well poop (or something like that), I’m never going to find the right time, if Kathy doesn’t divorce me over it I’m going to try and make it happen!”

I checked out my passport and it still had a few years left on it so that wasn’t a problem. They pretty well let me pick out the dates I wanted to do the project so I selected the 2nd of August as my starting point. That way we could get the niece Bailey married off to Taylor first before I headed out on my whacky adventure.

Then things went NUTS! After I agreed to head to Senegal Africa in a little less than three weeks I find out that you can’t just get into Senegal, you MUST have a Yellow Fever vaccination before admittance as well as Malaria medication. To make a long story short, by the time the Health Clinic and the Onaga Clinic got done with me I felt like a pincushion. (Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Typhoid,Meningitis, Malaria)

Then is was just hurry, hurry, hurry to try and get the stuff caught up as much as possible before I headed off. While doing the last minute scramble I took pictures of the farm and the community to show if anyone was interested. We don’t do that enough, take pictures of what we do ourselves. It’s kind of nice to have anexcuse to do it!

The two things that I really, really needed to get done was to get 2 bunches ofcattle moved to new grass before I left. One would be pretty easy, and was, they get moved quite a bit, but the other required rebuilding quite a bit of fence that hadn’t been used in several years. Like a dummy, I’m always running around and not getting things done at the right time, this time it REALLY burnt me, one doesnot want to be building fence when it’s a hundred degrees out AND being on a time deadline! Thankfully Zach and Tyler both pitched in and we got-er-done!

We pretty well had the fence wrapped up when we quit for Bailey’s wedding, then during the wedding I started to feel like crap! It probably isn’t fair but I’m blaming grandson Titan on spreading the TITAN flu to our bunch. I had picked up Titan and brought him home the day before (I didn’t think the flu bug could spread that quick, but it makes a good story) then the kids came flocking home that evening from all parts of Kansas.

Saturday afternoon I became sick, then by Saturday overnight just about the WHOLE family was fighting for the stools in our house,(although I suspect a couple of them might have been more Bailey’s receptionand dance than the flu). Needless to say, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Sunday we finished the fence (sorry pastor). Ma was adamant that I not go out that day but stay in and recuperate before my flight Monday, but the fence had to be done and one of the VERY FEW times in our LOOONNNG marriage I did not listen to her, thankfully she then came down with the flu before I got back in thehouse so the repercussions weren’t as bad as they would have been otherwise (the bruises hardly showed).

So, Sunday evening and early Monday morning I had available to get ready to
head off. Then going to bed in the dark I snubbed my toe BIG-TIME. (Man it hurts me to even write about it). Woke up Monday morning with a completely black toe, diarrhea, stomach flu, and then to top it off…………… (just so I wouldn’t forget the fence building while traveling)………….POISON IVY!!!!!!(I’ve NEVER suffered with Poison Ivy before, but this is my 2nd time this year!)

What a way to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!! Made me look forward to almost 17 hours in the air!
Whoops, flights leaving, gotta go, literally,

Continued later….




One response

15 08 2010
A Kansas Farmer goes to Africa | What's the Matter with Kansas?

[…] has posted his journal entries and photos on the Kansas Farmers Union blog (his posts start here.)  It’s well worth a look, esp. if you are familiar with Donn from our […]

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