OK, so its 1:30pm and about 100 degrees. This morning, I woke up at about 5:50 am, sweat coursing down my chest, neck, forehead and back. Right now, I’m sitting out on the patio of the little house we’re staying in, just outside the main HQ of the Assemblies of God churches for Burkina Faso. Last night, Jerry (Josh Swanson’s uncle) was telling us of a 3-week stint he had in the bush, where the temp averaged 130 degrees every day! This place is one where I think you have to feel “called to.” On the edge of the Sahara desert, this is the dusty season in Burkina, where winds blow off the Sahara, bringing massive duststorms and leaving the daily air full of dust. Even more treacherous is the fact that the winds and dust are known to carry meningitis, which along with countless respiratory diseases, becomes rampant during this season.
One thing I found out last night is that when the rains did come this year, they were too hard and too much, destroying much of the harvest. Reports are that many of the farmers received only about 15% of the harvest they expected – and needed. The effect is that by the end of May or June, most people will be out of food! The next harvest won’t be until mid-October and the leaders here anticipate severe food shortages and likely many deaths due to starvation.
This afternoon, we are going to visit Professor Zacharie Koalaga, professor of physics and technology at the University of Ouagadougou. My goal for our time is to find out his thoughts on the possibilities of partnering with local people in development projects.