17 April 2017

So, it was a rather slow week for me, a “coup de fatigue” came over me after 3 months of running around. I had to stay in the house for a couple of days. Heat and too many travels to the villages and the LAP got of me.


I had seen elephants twice in 20 years. I have seen them twice during this trip. This must be the Marion effect. When going to the lecture for grafting, we almost ran into a large elephant. We backed up a little and he went back on the side where there was at group of at least 30 of them. We did not dare to get out of the car.

Fetishes and gris-gris

We have been confronted recently with a lot of stories related with gris-gris. Most of the stories are related with gris–gris against thieves.

At the LAP, chickens were disappearing from the coops. We decided to put some lighting which automatically comes on with a moving sensor and a dissuasive camera (dissuasive because it does not work). Fancy stuff. A cheaper way has been to put some fetishes (called “bin”) on the doors of the coops. All children and most of the adults at the LAP believe in these and it is probably better than the lights and the camera.

A few days ago, the director of the LAP called me to say that the girls at the LAP did not want to harvest the neré because women of the neighboring village had put some fetishes on them!!! If a fetish is put on a tree nobody will touch it… The next day a group of women from the village came to harvest them. It was not easy to stop them. I had to call the son of the traditional chief (the chief does not speak French) to ask for support. The matter was handled very fast and the fetishes are gone with promises that it will not happen again.

Actually, we had some way of pressuring the chief. Each year we have to give him 230 euro for “sacrifices”. The land where the LAP is situated was from him and he negotiated to have this amount each year to make sacrifices to protect the LAP. We were going to give him this sum for this year when this incident with the women happened.

Those fetishes are very powerful among the villagers. If you do not want something to be stolen, put some fetishes!


The 3rd year students at the LAP were taught how to graft a mango tree this week. They had 2 trees per students. If they succeed, each student will take a tree home with him at vacation time.

Trees to be grafted and trainer making the demonstration.

First student having a go at grafting

Proverb of the week:

Nous avons toujours besoin de rendre quelqu’un responsable de nos ennuis et de nos malheurs

Pirandello (Luigi)

We always need to make someone responsible for our troubles and our misfortunes

Pirandello (Luigi)

Liberté implique responsabilité. C’est là pourquoi la plupart des hommes la redoutent.

Shaw (George Bernard)

Freedom implies responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

Shaw (George Bernard)

Only 2 weeks left for this trip.

Hope you have a good week.