These are drawings from archeological digs, so you can see that the concept is not new. Similar hoes are found all over sub-Saharan Africa. This drawing shows just a branch of the tree, but the ones used here in Malawi are shaped from the piece of the trunk from where the branch is attached. That joint is the strongest part of the tree and resists splitting from the constant pounding of the hoe into the ground.
The women do the majority of the cultivation and weeding, but the short handles on these hoes mean that they are constantly bending over as they work. It is back-breaking work, but the length of the handle seems to be a cultural thing. Long-handled hoes are seen as a sign of laziness. It's crazy.
Along with the maize planting, the rain affects several other things, especially the frogs. The ones outside our dining room window are deafening. The frogs themselves are about the size of your thumb joint, but they are expert at finding a location which will amplify their chirping. The loudest one has located himself at the base of one of the pillars in our perimeter wall. He sits in the corner, on a broken brick, and it all acts like a megaphone. He is so loud, that when I first went out to see what was making the noise, I couldn't get close enough to see him because it hurts to be anywhere near--really! It must be well over 110 decibels, painful to listen to for more than a minute or two.