More wives mean more children and more workers
This year, Ladji asks the village chief, his uncle, for more land. There is plenty of land, enough for anyone who has family manpower to work the fields. Good production depends on the strength of the fertilizer and the amount of manpower. More wives mean more children and more workers.
If the head of the family knows how to motivate all his kin, he can prosper. Speaking of his fields and wealth, Ladji says, “Some people have more, some have less.” In fact, most have less. Drained by the Bani, a tributary of the river Niger, Ladji’s region is one of Mali’s most productive.
The 100 families of the village are members of the co-operative run by the government owned CMDT. Today, the heads of all the households meet to discuss their needs for fertilizer, cotton seeds and animals to pull the ploughs and hoes. Most importantly, they want to know how much they will have to pay for these services and how much the company will pay for their harvest. The company sets the prices and quotas. Cotton income contributes to Ladji’s family prosperity and perhaps also to his continuous smile. But, as he does not know when the years of drought will come, he does not really know if the cotton price on the world markets will be in his favor.
The income of this special field is used for their community activities
The young men work together in a special field assigned to them. The income of this special field is used for their community activities such as hiring the Griot for dances. They proudly say that their work bought the television, video and generator used by everyone to see movies and the much appreciated musical shows.