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  • Mo Bangura

UNEXPURGATED - THE HOES' TALE


One of our farmers long-standing requests is for some really good quality hoes, so Med, our newest volunteer (and Mama Mayila's grandson) - joining us full-time when he completes his exams - was tasked over the summer by his uncle, Mo, to reserach the best way to provide our farmers with the most satisfying hoes we can afford.

What have wheel rims got to do with it? Well, in Sierra Leone wheel rims are the thing to make the very best quality hoes, sturdy and strong and capable of repeated deep digging. Aunty Zainab, Engineer Amara's sister, sources some for us and Uncle Mo collects and transports them to the Makelekos All-Stars for safe-keeping. Now, all we need to find is a blacksmith and Med suggests his Grandpa an artisan metalworker with over 40 years experience hammering away at the anvil.

Meds' mission for our farmers: to research and commission the best quality hoes our limited budget can buy. And in Sierra Leone that means wheel rims and finding an artisan blacksmith. Travelling to his Grandpa's village deep in Karene district, Med finds his Grandpa in the forge. Soon, Med's working the bellows to get his Grandpa's fire going and Grandpa's cutting the hot hot wheel rim with his snips.

Then Grandpa works the bellows himself with a practised and expert rhythm - akin to an old strong steam train entering a tunnel - which has the desired effect of really getting his fire hot hot hot hammering away hard against the anvil to forge the heated steel and shape the hoe to his liking and we hope, to our farmers.

Meds mission continues as he follows his Grandpa into the woods in search of exactly the right kind of wood to make a sturdy hoe handle; a haft suitable for a tight farmers grip and one that can endure repeated deep digging.

Coppicing a plank tree for wood of the right length and girth, they set to chopping and hewing the handle so the shaft slips neatly into our farmers eager hands.

Expert blacksmith Grandpa fashions collars to attach hoe to handle, with the first finished with a fine coat of paint!

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