From December to March North-Ghana experiences Harmattan season-the time when strong desert winds carry the sands from Sahel. It is the winter period in Ghana, with low humidity, hot days and cool nights. In the mornings one can experience a huge dust cloud and really chilly weather, most of the locals wear winter jackets and scarves or respirators as it would be really hard to travel anywhere without covering your nose and mouth. Dust gets into everywhere and even tough most of common diseases such as cholera and malaria are not so prevailing this time due to the lack of water bodies, all sorts of cold and dust related diseases are pretty common this time. So yes people in Ghana can experience cough or stuffy nose. Harmattan is extremely dry season and most of the nature turns to yellow or orange, beside the huge mango trees, that start to blossom in the middle of that period and produce it`s fruits in early March. Dry season farming can be done only in small fenced areas with water availability close by. There will be no millet, rice, corn or beans growing during that period and people have to get by with less food and water. Dry season farming mostly focuses on tomatoes and onions. In South-Ghana such extremes are not present and harmattan exposes itself there just for few weeks in January. Also in South there are 2 rainy seasons and in North only 1.
Even tough most of western kids have learnt at School about desertification local students in North have no clue why such kind of dusty weather occurs. I have been in many Schools to talk about soils and desertification and even tough there is a topic of soils and it`s protection in the National curriculum there is not much awareness about what actions cause desertification and how to fight for the lands to remain arable. There is a lack of understanding that all of us can and have to change the course of action and stop the activities that are causing desertification to start working on the activities to avoid it. Following blog posts will give background information and learning ideas to trigger the discussions in Schools about climate change and food scarcity.