Back in Burkina since almost 2 weeks now. Time for some news!
The situation is calm here after a lot of problems in the streets created mainly by the military people. Some sanctions have been taken recently. One of which is to expel over 500 militaries. Question everybody asked is : what will those expelled soldiers do now? They still have weapons….
It seems that most of the bandits here are either ex militaries or even militaries. We will see.
One of the major political problem is that the president would like to be reelected a 3rd time. For this the constitution has to be changed. This week the high court decided that they would not touch the constitution. This was a big relieve for the people here. Temporary relieve since the President can still find way to be on the next year ballots.
Now some news on our activities here.
The construction of our secondary school (LAP) is going well. We should be in time for the opening October 1st. Next buildings will be the stable, the pigsty, the coop and the workshop / garage.
Class room building
Hole for the toilet
House of the director
House for temporary teachers
On the teacher side, after the director, we have the second full time teacher. He is specialist in agronomy. He will take care of cultivation the 4 hectares which are already opened on the ground of the school before starting the teaching October 1st. The other teachers will be part time.
On the children side we had 231 of them pass a test on Tuesday. From those we will select 12 for scholarship in Banfora and 70 for the LAP. The test was with some logic questions. We could see the teachers who ask the children to think and the ones who just push information in the head of the kids.
Kids passing the test
Really? What test?
Now some results of the school year 2010-2011. Some good news, some bad news.
Bad news first: from 5 students attempting to get their “CAP” of mechanic, none have succeeded. The blame is to be shared between the school, our lack of follow up and the kids themselves.
Good news: from 4 children attempting to get their BEPC exam, 3 out of 4 have got it. The one who did not get it is Hortense who was very sick for over 2 months early this year. The national average of success is no more than 30%.
From the other scholarship holders for secondary school, only 2 out of the 42 have failed their year.
Other good news: the average success at the exam at the end of the primary school was close to 70% this year a very strong improvement over last year. We think that our support to teachers training and teacher motivation has something to do with this improvement.
It is now the rainy season and most villagers are in the fields.
Young people weeding. Blue shirt boy one of our scholarship holder
We still did 2 meetings in the villages: Mogobasso and Kwekwesso.
In Mogobasso it was to tell them that we were going to stop our support to the village. In the trip going to the village, a conversation with Jean Francois (one important adviser who knows me well) was like this:
You have to stay calm in the discussion. Do not get annoyed with the poor answers of the villagers. There was only a small crowd waiting for us. The same morning a young man had passed away and most of the people were paying their respects to the family.
We still had a good discussion and I staid calm in stating what I thought of the village. Then I ask them what they were going to do about all those difficulties. Since nothing was coming out, I asked them if they wanted to know my solution. They immediately said NO. Then something unusual happened. The spoke person of the village started to apologize and he became very emotional and started to cry. Even Désiré was on the border of tears. Very sincere and very strong message delivered to the village by this elder. We will go back coming Friday and continue our discussion.
Yesterday we went to Kwekwesso to have a discussion on the internal problem of the village: no trust between quarters of the village and also big generation problem. It was a good discussion. At one point we asked the women, the men, the young and the elders to gather in group and to come back wit the name of the chief they have had and why was he a good chief.
The elders named somebody called Souro (hard working, impartial, honest), the men named the same person (a new reason of this choice was: “he never took women from other men!!!!!). The young men named also the same, but it was not they original choice. We had to force them to come out with their choice finally they did it. The women named Sangha as the best chief and the reason was that he was able to solve the problem between men and women.
To show the lack of confidence between the generations, we ask Simplist (the chief today) and 2 of his sons to stand up. The idea was that Simplist had to let go backward without looking and his sons were supposed to catch him. We demonstrate this with Desiré first. Simplist could not do it, not even a little bit. I think that everybody got the message.
They also realize that their main problem is the fact that they their mentality does not change. We keep on doing the same things that our fathers have done. So the main focus is “change of mentality”. They will start a committee for this and we will try to help them to go forward in the change.
Women choosing the best chief
Young men doing the same
We had provided food after the meeting. Youngster having what was left over.
On Wednesday, Alain Bal
thazar arrived for a short visit. He will in charge of the social business in Burkina as of September 1st. He will be coming to Bobo with his wife and 2 kids. New challenge for him and for me.
A few things along the way.
The new nursery school in Kwekwesso
The teacher who will direct the school
The new bridge in Toungana (with water!!!)
The new bridge in Toungana (with water!!!)
Jean Francois distributing money
Hortense (she almost died in january )
“Belles de jour” in our garden
Hope you are all well. Take care. Hervé