(Preparing the Land)
After weeks of slow-motion work in the baking heat, life on the shambas shifted into a higher gear at the end of February. The daytime temperatures remained high, in the nineties, but there was much to be accomplished in the fields. The long rains would be coming soon, and when they did, the soil needed to be ready for planting.
Teams of oxen and their handlers roamed the dirt roads, listening for a shout from a farmer to come and work her land. The bulls did the heavy labor, dragging plows that churned through the concrete-hard dirt. Stout men walked behind the single-blade contraptions, tightly grabbing the wooden handles, fighting to stay on a reasonably straight path. Often the plow would pop up ...