Cotton Country

Going to the source -

This is the beginning of a story that might get very long- Christophe Kaboré, a documentarist/activist approached me to make a documentary of my work. I said it might be a bigger story than he thought but let’s start at the beginning

In the cotton field. . . 

We hopped on a motorbike passing puffy piles of cotton along the road waiting to be weighed and trucked off to the gin. But that’s not the cotton we’re looking for-

 Christophe mid journey at the Palaise, Pa, Burkina Faso

Christophe mid journey at the Palaise, Pa, Burkina Faso

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Fafo, our destination: a market village, a dozen kilometers off the tar road. 

We were generously hosted and fed by my friend’s parents. The day’s activity is making food. The girl in background is pouring the locally grown rice to separate it from the husks. Everything we eat comes from within walking distance of the village. Someone scrambled up a tree to collect leaves for the leaf sauce. The scrawny, boney fish were scooped out of the damn we passed and rice grown alongside it. The oil was prepared from Shea butter nuts locally harvested. The peanuts were yanked out the ground and grilled in the fire before our eyes. I can’t say it was the most delicious cuisine but it certainly seems to make strong, handsome people! 

The day’s water is fetched from the shared well by bike. . .

or by head. . .

Far away from so much and yet thoroughly infiltrated by layers of plastic. 

We drink some water from plastic packages, a little cautious of the local well water. Christophe, without a second thought, tosses his water packet off to waft down on the years of accumulated plastic. I sheepishly squish mine down into my bag. But what will I do with it? Keep it as a souvenir? Burn it into green flames and send it’s fumes into the air? 

On the way to the organic cotton field.

And here we are plopped in a pile of organic cotton after a day discussing and filming. 

 I’m so charmed by the eloquence of these farmers as they explain their reasoning and observation after ten years of organic cotton farming, seeing nature respond to their efforts. Sadly, only one percent of Burkina’s cotton is organic. The rest is a natural genocide.  

I’m so charmed by the eloquence of these farmers as they explain their reasoning and observation after ten years of organic cotton farming, seeing nature respond to their efforts. Sadly, only one percent of Burkina’s cotton is organic. The rest is a natural genocide.  

I’m not sure if others will find this material quite so riveting but our survival on earth comes down to the techniques we employ to coordinate with our environment and it’s a pretty dry and gritty operation.  

 

The revolution is in the technical details!