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Second week of this trip. A lot of office work: evaluation, discussion about our organization in Burkina, follow up on the social businesses development.

The weather is a bit cold for the local people at night (around 20ºC) and warm in the day (above 35ºC). It is very dry and there is a lot of dust in the air. We also had quite a lot of wind. Water is getting scarce and there is concentration of animals around the places still with water.

The landscape changes also between the seasons. The rainy season between June and October is called here « hivernage » (wintering) this is when the nature is in full development with beautiful green landscapes. The dry season goes between November and May. As of January the fields are all with dry grass.

I probably mentioned this already in a previous blog, but in the first months of each year (January to April), men in the villages do not have much to do. At least they think they do not have much to do. Farmers do not realize that they can improve their land during this period: preparing compost, doing some work against erosion, and taking out stumps from the fields… Changing the mentality of farmers is not easy. Since the older people do not work during this period, the sons will not work either!!!

However they always ask for projects in order to have « something to do » in the dry season. One of the difficulties is, that working in the field does not bring cash in their pocket immediately, only after the rainy season. When they ask for something to do is for an immediate return. I am not sure what can be done to change this attitude.

To complicate the situation, the father has his sons working in the field. Since he keeps most of the proceed of the harvest for himself, the sons do not see any advantage to do more work in the field.

On Tuesday we went to 3 villages to launch the latrine project. Each family that wishes to have a latrine has to dig a hole of 80 cm diameter and 3 meters deep. They also have to supply/make 300 bricks. We then come with the cement slab, cement and a mason to build the latrine. The construction of the first group will be done in Fina, starting next week. So far we have a demand for 98 latrines.

To help them understand what they have to do, we visited the villages which have asked for latrines and gave them some tips where to dig the hole and how to measure the size of it.

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A string and 2 sticks to draw the hole in the ground

Going around in the villages you sometime see some strange things like the house below which looks in good state in front (even with a blackboard for the kids to work on). It is another story at the back where the back wall is missing!!!

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We know that young kids are used to take care of the cows, but how old is the kid below? 4, 5 years old?

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It is the time when fruit trees are blossoming and starting to have fruits. Nice time for the bees. This week we met the director of a large association that is specialized in honey. They buy honey from over 1.600 beekeepers and sell more than 200 tons of honey in Burkina Faso. I would have thought that the honey was exported to Europe or the US. The Europe Union is very good at putting rules, which makes that the products cannot be imported within Europe. No need to put some duties, legislation is good enough. The lobby of European beekeepers must have a strong support. Since 2006 they are trying to get the authorization to export to the EU. For this they need a certification, which is so complex and so expensive (consultant work) that it is almost impossible to get it.

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Nice mango tree with a lot of flowers.

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Cashew nuts

Touareg proverb:

Le chameau ne se moque pas des bosses des autres.

The camel doesn't make fun of the bumps of the others.

Hope you will have a great coming week.

Take care.

Hervé

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