February is well into the dry season – there is not much food around in the village.  The villagers share what there is in their respective compounds.  They supply us with cooked rice each evening and continue to pound couscous to sell.  There is very little in the way of fresh fruit or vegetables.  There are some greens growing in our compound, away from hungry free range sheep and goats, which the women water carefully and labouriously every morning and evening with water from the well.  The main export from the village is groundnuts.

We are eating mostly tinned food, bread, cereal.  It is obvious that we have vastly more supplies than them and it becomes awkward at times.  They slaughter a goat and two chickens for us during our stay to welcome us and give us a good farewell dinner.  Our Engineer friend from the village says that they will be able to afford to eat protein about three times a year.  He tells us that when he visited (an admittedly very large) Sainsbury’s on a visit to the UK, he estimated there was the same amount of food there as in the whole of his country.

Our stomachs think our throats have been cut.  Nothing wrong with the food at all.  Just small portions and no grazing.  Calorie intake plummets.  We adjust about half way through the stay helped along by the heat.  Mercury hits 45 degrees by afternoon and will continue to climb until June.