We stayed at the Extra Quality Lodge for eight nights. The décor was plastic flowers and framed pictures of game. To get there, CRS driver Joe, wove between pot holes so large that they, and all drivers before them, had taken to driving off-road to make it through. You passed the Chelsea Shopping Center for General Provisions (a 3×5 stall on the corner) and arrived at the gates. Inside, tiles cooled our feet and a garden grew along the wall. Power went out frequently, and with it the water since it had an electric pump, but otherwise, a good place.
The training was 1-1/2 hours away in Chereponi village. After that, for two days, we went a little further out to Gballo, Jappa, and Sangbana villages to conduct the surveying. Mostly, it was very bad road after a rain when large lakes would appear where the track once was. Joe, cool-headed, drove through, around and beside the trouble areas. I kept picturing dropping into a water-camouflaged pothole and never emerging, or least not emerging with an axle. Our shoulders slid the width of the back seat with each rocking motion.
What I learned in Yendi and Chereponi: market day was worth a stop. Goods, foods, grains. It was all there. Soybeans in Chereponi were consolidated from various farmers by a woman who sold it in large bags. We stooped to take a closer look: lots of small stones and dirt mixed in the soy. The rice and millet looked cleaner. The problem? The threshing and winnowing was not always done on tarps. Odd bits got mixed in.
Shea nuts were sold to eat as snacks. Some were cracked further open for the butter, but many here were just peeled back for the slightly sweet layer between the nut and the skin. As we walked through the market, donut-like dough was frying, a lamb was being butchered, guinea fowl were expertly pushed into baskets to be carried away. We bought fabrics, mostly because I could not resist. The market was crowded, noisy, and bustling. A colorful, colorful world.