Some nice view along the road

On Monday, Eugénie and Anne left for Ouagadougou to catch a plane on the way back to Europe. They are now safe in The Netherlands in the cold. The house feels rather empty.

Parliamentary and mayors elections will be on December 2nd. The campaign has started. Young adults without anything to do are leading it. Happy they have T-shirts and sometimes some food. It is a time when a lot of inaugurations are happening. This allows officials to travel at the expenses of the state and do their campaign. One of the villages we often pass by is Bah. Two ministers came to set the first stone of a “modern market” in this village. The road going to the village is the worse of the entire neighboring roads and the area does not have any particular interest for merchant. Anyway the local mayor will probably be reelected since he has shown he has the contacts and the village came on television!!!

This week we spent a few days in Bobo catching up on administration and on the logistic of projects. On Wednesday we went to the LAP and stayed there for the night. It is nice to be able to feel a little bit the rhythm of the school. We took this opportunity to help them understand what organizing means. The workshop was far from tidy. We have many tools (for garden, for wood, for metal) and they were all over the place. We only started the cleaning and organizing. We will see next visit if they have finished it.

The night we were at the LAP was the first time that they were taking out honey from the hives. The setup of the hives was not easy. They had to try several times to get a proper size swarm. They have 9 which look ok. The harvest was not very good due to the late set up of the hives. Only 2 gave some honey. Others even with good size swarms did not produce honey due to lack of flowers at this period. A lot of larva are produced to help the swarm survive.

The next time to harvest the honey will be in May 2013. This is when there is the main production.

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Macaire and his people looking like Ninja with their protective gear

At the LAP we recently installed a drip system in the garden. With this system we use only half of the water in comparison with watering can, all the plants are properly watered (100% success) and the children have less work.

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Jean Francois and Macaire looking at the drip system    Seedling along the drip pipes

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LAP students going out of class in the evening

The next day we had a meeting with teachers in the village where the LAP is located. The themes of the reunion were “participative education” and “how to make the primary school the heart of the village”. We had already such a meeting last week with another group of teachers. The dynamic of this group was different. It was a larger group, 19 women and 11 men and they were participating more than the group last week. Unfortunately the person who led the meeting was not very good in controlling the discussion.

From these 2 meetings I have learned that:

  • More teachers are motivated by their work. I thought that most of them had come to the teacher's job just to get a salary, not because they wanted to teach.
  • The ministry directive supports participative methods of teaching versus a dogmatic one. This is a complete change of policy in the last year. Now come the difficulties in implementing it: training of teachers and supervisors. Anyway it goes on the right track.

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The class room with the teachers

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I did contribute a little bit

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Teachers

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Future teacher?

On Friday 18 villagers from Sokourani came to our office in Bobo to discuss the organizational problems of their village. At least that was what we planned. After a while we realized that they thought they were coming come to discuss an eventual new project!!!  Since I was the one who passed the message to the village representative, I can only blame the misunderstanding on myself (Normally I always try to blame somebody else as people around me know).

We started by asking them if there was agreement between the men of the villages at which the village chief say immediately “no”. Each of them then expressed why this was. The 3 main points which came out were:

  • Men cannot tell the truth to each other
  • Problem of transparency with money
  • Problem of land ownership

We tried then an exercise where we asked the villagers to tell each other the problem they have with each other. Obviously at the beginning nobody had a problem, but slowly one said that there was a problem of land with another one. A small problem he said… I am sure that this came out only because we were there and that we had asked them to be more open. I do not believe that they will be able to change this part of their tradition in a very near future. Since this creates a lot of uneasiness and cohesion problems, we will have to think how we can help them solve this.

Regarding the transparency with the money we proposed again to them an idea from William (some years ago) where a budget for the village is made (school, health, water well maintenance, some work in the village…), then this amount of fund is divided by family in proportion of the number of members. The collected money is placed on a bank account. ASAP plays the role of controller of the money usage (all transactions have to be approved by ASAP). Then the school is free, the consultation at the dispensary are free, there is money to fix the pump and for small work in the village. This was well received one more time, but will it be followed!?!?!?!

The land ownership is a huge problem and we will have to start with the people who know where their land limits are and go from there. They insist that we need to be a sort of controller for this as well.

Th
is Sunday we went to visit the village of Toungana. This is the smallest village of the 10 we have, with around 500 inhabitants. We are at the 2nd year out of 3 to increase the capacity of the school in the village.

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Men from Toungana

The discussion always come back to the same themes: agreement between the men, problem of transparency with money…… They seem to be honest enough to realize this and even publicly talk directly between themselves about money problem, communication problem…. Again we have to see how they will act after we are gone. The challenge for them is to maintain the old school building (holes on the covered terrace) and to make sure that parents pay the school fees. Until this is done we will not do other projects in the village.

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Family planning????????????

With us in the visit we had a newcomer Odile. Odile will start with ASAP on Thursday in replacement of Désiré. I will give you more info on her next week.

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Not many flower at this time of the year

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Birdies blossom

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Hope this picture give strength to Claudie.

Proverb from Kenya

Tears are best dried with your own hand

Il vaut mieux séchées ses larmes avec sa propre main

Have an excellent week. 
Hervé

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