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In the blog of last week, I forgot to mention that we had attended a lecture on biological food. This was organized by a small food shop in Bobo owned by a couple of French people. The lecturer had made is thesis on the use of pesticides in Burkina. Besides the fact that he thought we were all doctors in agronomy and was using too many technical names, it made us realize that there is a major problem in Burkina but also in developing countries. 

Most of the pesticides used in Burkina are smuggled in from neighboring countries with the “paid complicity” of Burkinabe officials. Those products have been long banned in developed countries. They are sold in small markets around the countries and sometimes do not have any label. They normally work well as pesticide and are not too expensive. Local people are not aware of their danger.

The government is aware of this but do not do anything to prevent this. Those products help to have more production and who in Burkina is going to analyze the content of the pesticide in the food?

In the same way that there are street medicines, there are street pesticides. I think we should consider them as lethal weapons and the people producing them and selling them as criminals. They are even more dangerous than a Kalashnikovs. You can immediately measure the effect of the gun, but not with bad medicines or pesticides.

We will not be able to go against the lobby behind those traffics, but we can try to educate people who will educate others and so on. We have started an awareness campaign about the consequences for people because of the use of bad pesticides. Unfortunately we have to scare them so that there is any impact. We will also make the LAP a promoter for biological cultures. The students if they are convinced of the danger of the pesticides, might be able to convince their parents of this fact.

I think that 100% biological culture is a nice dream, but only a dream. What is dangerous is the excess. If there is a good balance between natural field inputs and chemical ones, it will be already a good step toward better products and better land conservation and biodiversity.

What is your point of view?

The food shop NeneKaflé, which organized the meeting, was also promoting vegetable baskets coming from a biological farm situated 40km from Bobo.

On Monday we were in the village of Kofila to talk to the women about their appropriation of their nursery school.

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The personnel of the nursery school of Kofila. Left Te the director.

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The board of the women managing it did not change since the school opened 8 years ago. Since it is really a volunteer job, it was needed to engage the women to look for a new board or at least to change some of them. They completely agreed and went on to work on it after we left them. 

We also had a nice surprise. The women association had a microcredit with us, but they missed to reimburse € 240 from a total loan of € 5.400 for over 12 months. We had found out that they had given the cash to a local transporter to give to us. We did not receive the cash and the transporter did not have a receipt from us. Dilemma for the women: they trust us and could not go against the transporter’s word.

In the meeting we had the week before, the women found the courage to work out the problem. The village is divided in 6 quarters. Each of the quarter contributed € 40 to reimburse us. Since they did not have this cash, they ask the men to help them. In return, the women will work in the fields of the men for the same amount.

We took the opportunity of this trip to pass by the LAP.

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The 60 new students with the (now) 4 full time teachers.

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On Thursday we went to the village of Sokourani. The villagers who had come to Bobo the week before had to restitute the meeting to the population. It was very well organized and the restitution was very well done.

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One of the persons who took part in the restitution mentioned at the end of his presentation that he was very disappointed by the villagers since not many people had come to the meeting. It is true that we had seen bigger crowd in some previous encounters. We asked the villagers if we should take a name list of the people at the meeting and to use only the people on the list for further projects. They agreed enthusiastically to this proposition. What I did not realize is that several people (men and women) left the meeting to warn the other villagers. At least twice as many people were at the end than at the beginning. Only in the car talking to the ASAP team made me realize what happened.

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On Friday a delegation coming from Brazil from the consulting group BAIN came to visit the farm of the Agricultural social business SYS. 

They are making a study for the Brazilian government (I think) on bio fuel. What type of plant could be good to produce bio fuel in West Africa? People who know me are aware that I do not have high regards for bio fuel, especially not in countries such as Burkina. But there will always be a political leader who w
ant to get famous about a special project and get money from it.

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Karim, manager of the social business in the middle, talking to the 3 consultants from BAIN (2 Brazilian and one Dutch).

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The farm had the visit of elephants the day before. Above the result.

In the past weeks Eugénie had been very busy with preparing things for the girl’s compound at the LAP: bed sheets, curtains and mosquito protection for the windows. We went today, Sunday, to install the ones ready. Below the results. Nice.

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Weaving birds

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It is time for peanuts harvesting

African proverb:
Ce n’est pas parce que les choses sont difficiles que nous n’osons pas, mais parce que nous n’osons pas qu’elles sont difficiles
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, but because we do not dare that they are difficult.

I hope that you are all well.

Until next week.

Hervé

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