No rain for over a week now and the temperature has risen to 38oC with a very high humidity.  Any activity brings sweat. Burkina Faso is not really a country for tourism, but it still has some very nice spots and they are not crowded. This Sunday we want to the “cascades” close to the town of Banfora.

Blog 14 October 2012

After a walk of about 15 minutes from the car park you find yourself in a very peaceful and beautiful environment. Along the stream of water, there are several places similar to the picture above.

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At the bottom of the cascades are huge mango trees and also very big Kapok trees. Anne is in between the roots of one of them. We had an appointment with the children with scholarship in Banfora so we could not stay very long. A pity.

We have now 53 students following studies in Banfora. We did not put any new ones in the first year since we have now our own secondary school (Lycée Agricole Privé). They are between 13 and 19 years old, 27 boys and 26 girls. It is the beginning of the school year and they have to adjust to the next class level. The major complaint we had was about the teachers not speaking loud enough, or with a strange accent, or too fast. Unfortunately, they have to adjust to the teachers since the teachers are not willing to change.

This year we have 9 students at the end of the first secondary study cycle ( 4 years) and one who will try to get her BEP  “Brevet d’études professionnelles”  (6 years secondary study)

Blog 14 October 2012
Partial view of the students.

Together with the students at the LAP, we have in total 183 scholarship holders.

The week days were busy with meeting in Bobo with villagers. We invited 7 villagers per village so we had to split them into 2 groups of 5 villages each. Each of the meetings lasted 2 days.

The first day was to explain why we had started social businesses and also who was doing what. Karim (social agricultural business) and Désiré (karité business) were both before working for ASAP.

Part of the explanation came through a sketch showing that a villager cannot start himself a business, only a foreigner can. The social pressure of the family, the jealousy, the lack of understanding   makes it impossible for a local person’s  business to survive or develop. Only a foreigner can say no, he is also not influenced by family.

The sketch had a lot of success and they understood better why we were developing a business with them from the outside.

On the ASAP side we explained to them our activities classification: education, health, environment, village organization and economic development. They understood better the link between those activities: if you are not healthy you cannot go to school or to work, if there is no education, you cannot develop, if the land is eroded you cannot cultivate properly and do not have money to send kids to school….

On the second day, each village had to give us the list of projects they thought important for the development of their village. We then gave them some feedback on the data we had collected earlier in the year. This was an eye opener for all the participants.

Blog 14 October 2012
Population per village. The total population of all the villages is 15.280.

Since we have statistics on the primary school since 2002, it was easy to see the trends of the % of kids attending school and also the results of the schools.

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Left a negative trend Right  appositive trend

After this presentation they had to set the priority of the projects they had listed. It was interesting work and it helps now to make our projects budget for 2013.

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Discussion during the meeting

Blog 14 October 2012

Villagers were divided in groups and had to work on specific subjects and then they had to present their results.

We will make sure that the information learned in these meeting is well communicated in the whole village.

Sure enough on our way to the cascade in Banfora we met the red bird.

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I am not sure what he was trying to tell us, but he did not want to repeat it!!

Quotes from Nelson Mandela:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

J’ai appris que le courage n’est pas l’absence de peur, mais le triomphe sur celui-ci. Le brave n’est pas celui qui ne ressent pas la peur, mais celui qui conquiert cette peur.

Si nous sommes libérés de notre propre peur, notre présence libère automatiquement les autres.

Have  a great week.

Take care of yourselves.


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