Hugh inspects mono sex tilapia at a local fish farm
Dr. Hugh Thomforde recently finished his three week assignment with Farmer-to-Farmer in Burma (also known as Myanmar), where he conducted workshops for 101 farmers in four townships on water quality monitoring for freshwater fish and prawn farmers. While writing his end-of-assignment report he reflected on his time there, noting: (more…)
This week’s blog comes from Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Daniel Miller, with reflections after his return from an assignment in Burma (also known as Myanmar):
For those of you who have not visited Myanmar, you have missed a good opportunity. It is a major Buddhist center with pagodas and monasteries everywhere. The next to last worldwide Buddhist conference was held here about 200 years ago, and the agreements on what constitutes Buddhism were inscribed in 729 marble tablets and set up in small pagodas for generations to come. They probably will outlast the records of the more recent worldwide conference that were recorded on a hard drive. Another pagoda you will want to visit is one of the largest in the world in Yangon, the Shwe Dagon. Supposedly it was originally built by two merchants who talked with the Buddha on a trip to India. Some of Buddha’s hair relics are said to be buried there.
The world’s largest standing Buddha is in Myanmar and is quite impressive. There are a number of other famous pagodas that were built by former kings and are now maintained either by the government or by private donations. Another thing I saw was a wooden bridge across a lake that was built less than 200 years ago to facilitate commerce between the producers on one side of the lake and the consumers on the other side. It reduced the need for boat traffic and made things a lot easier.
Depending on your viewpoint, the best time to come is during the monsoon season when everything is growing and temperatures are cool or during the dry season when it is dry and hotter than a good Mexican chili, but there are no mosquitoes. And on top of that, there are festivals of some kind or other most of the time.
My USAID Farmer-to-Farmer assignments actually covered two areas. The first was to improve the level of management for a group of dairy farmers who were actually doing quite well given circumstances. As in almost every case I’ve seen, the biggest problem is nutrition of their animals. The second area was a group of goat raisers in the central part of Myanmar. Typically the only investment they made in their animals was to build a crude shelter for the rainy season and night time, nothing in the way of supplements or mineral salt. In the morning the goats went out to graze on whatever there was to eat coming back at midday and the evening. Salt and minerals would help a lot at little cost. The stockmen could also plant forage trees to improve the protein level of the goats’ diet. Another thing they should consider is to select based on udder conformation and size and number of kids born and weaned. Since the price of goat meat is almost as good as in the US, they should do well.
–Daniel K. Miller
In January, all of the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) implementers got together in Morocco for a lively four days of program planning, training, and discussions. It was a great way for new and old F2F staff to share lessons, insights, and goals as we all embark upon the current five-year phase of the program.
Reflecting on their time in Morocco and their goals for F2F over the next five years, Winrock’s Africa Country Directors shared the following thoughts: (more…)
Today we celebrate the thousands of Winrock volunteers who have dedicated their expertise, time, and hearts to helping people in need around the world.
Volunteers Leanne Wiley and Allyn Lamb, both of whom volunteered with the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program in Nigeria, share what international volunteering has meant to them: (more…)
At the end of his second volunteer assignment in Guinea, Lloyd Ziegler noted,
This is the second time in a year I have worked with the beekeepers of Nialeya. I feel as if I have made some friends there; it is a privilege to work with such fine individuals. I now have at least a couple teasing cousins there, which only makes my life richer. The only downside is that the more I work there, the harder it is to say goodbye. Most of the enrichment I received is in the heart.
What a lovely sentiment, which I am sure is shared amongst all of those who worked with Lloyd on his two trips.
[Thank you Lloyd!]