I will be leaving this wonderfully mild Mediterranean clime of Southern California to serve as a Peace Corps Agroforestry Volunteer in Senegal. As of now, I have only vague ideas and imaginary scenarios of what my volunteer work actually entails. From what I’ve seen and heard of current and previous Agroforestry volunteers (either through blogs or in person), it is highly likely I will be living in a rural community where many of the projects will revolve around helping improve farming practices. The Peace Corps does provide some training in the field, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to have a few more hours on the farm under my overalls (yeah…I went there). So for the past two weeks I’ve been working on my farmer’s tan over at Farmer Leo’s organic farm in Encinitas. Within two weeks, I’ve learned about the miracles of composting, establishing seed beds, tilling, creating soil mixes, harvesting, crop rotation, setting up irrigation, and the innumerable utilities of the wheelbarrow. I’ve also learned how crucial each tool is to its purpose and am realizing that many simple tasks (such as making soil blocks) intended to be completed within an hour can be increasingly difficult and time-consuming without the proper tools. I’m curious about the tools and the methods used by farmers in Senegal and am keeping note of the tools I am using and if they could possibly make certain processes a little easier.
Stay tuned for more updates from the farm and pre-departure ramblings! I will have a finalized packing list up soon, I am still in the process of debating what I should bring.