We are on our way back to The Netherlands. Yesterday a bus for about 5 hours (airco). About 10 minutes from the arrival in Ouagadougou, the bus stopped and the helper started to take water bottles from the racks above the seats. When you think that they have planned this water is both good (they have this just in case) or bad (why do they need this). Anyway after 6 bottles of 1,5 litres we were back on our way to the end of this bus trip.
Ouagadougou is a very busy city with a lot of traffic mainly motorbikes and it is also warmer than in Bobo Dioulasso. We do not really like it, but we have to go via this city where most of the bronze artist are and where the international flights come.
In the middle of a week, a delegation of 4 people from the A Petits Pas foundation arrived for a visit. APP is active, in France, collecting funds for projects in Burkina since 7 years. They are mainly financing projects in 4 of our 10 villages. Bertrand is the head of APP. He comes twice a year to Burkina for visits of one week. He tries to put a program of 1 month in a week. It is intensive.
One of the difficulties we are facing all the time is the appropriation of the project by the villagers. For example, after a school is built, it should be the village which takes care of maintaining it. Even after many years of talking about it, we do not see a major change in the attitude of the people. The blame can be split between 3 parties: us, the parents and the teachers. As far as ASAP is concerned, we are sometimes too quick to come to the rescue (paying part of the work needed for example) and by not doing a proper job in controlling the school building on regular basis. The parents have a problem to understand what is needed for the maintenance since the only thing they know is their own house which is often in much worse shape than the school buildings. When you live in a dirty environment, you realise it only when you go to a clean one. The teachers will try to spend the minimum of time in the rural area and they do not care if children damage the school. We will have to do a better job in controlling the school's physical aspect and use the result of this control to trigger or not other projects for the school.
In Kouekouesso we have also built a nursery school. It is always nice to see the little ones in a nice environment. We really hope that the education received in the nursery school will help the whole village to improve their hygiene.
Before Bertrand's arrival, we made a trip to the LAP (our agricultural secondary school). Each village has to provide 10 people for one week every 8 weeks to do the unskilled work of construction. This has been going on for more than one year now and the mobilisation of the villages is going away. Since some villages are rather far and the construction might go on until 2018, we proposed to them to pay 60.000 cfa (90 euro) each year to replace the workers. This would help the contractor to hire people and to better plan his work. The message was clear: no work or no money from a village = no entry to the LAP from the children of this village. This was well received and today we received already the first payment from the village of Kofila.
Now some pictures of our office in Bobo.
Above the office of the social businesses and the conference room
Proverb of the week: a promise is more binding than a debt.
La promesse est plus contraignante que la dette
We will be taking the plane tonight. Hope that the weather in The Netherlands will improve.
Take care of yourselves and until our next trip to Burkina end of July.