This will be our last message for this trip. Hope you are still finding some motivation to read it.

Hortense: Everything looks good; she has decided to go back to school. We will take her with us on Tuesday on our way toOuagadougou. It is a bit spooky to realize that she got sick when we were here beginning of January and that she is ok when we are going back home. Fate, coincidence, luck….. What is clear is that without Eugénie here we do not really know where she would be. In any case a happy ending, this is what we like.

Besides what Eugénie did for Hortense, I did not really talk about her activities here. Before the arrival of the container, it was replacing the mosquito nets in the windows of our house and painting the windows. After the container arrived it was opening all the boxes and bags to sort them out: clothes, computers … This was a mega job which kept Eugénie busy for at least 5 weeks from 8 in the morning till? (I do not really know since I am in bed at 8:30). Busy bee.

In the middle of this week, it was Mouloud (the birth of prophet Mohamed). It is a free day, but nobody knows really which day it will be: the moon has to be spotted. On the calendar it is on Monday and then some people say no it is on Tuesday, finally it was on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, so Wednesday was free. We had to reshuffle some village visit, but it came out good since I caught a cold beginning of the week. I could take it easy (a little bit).

On Tuesday we had a meeting with representatives of villages involved in the construction of our secondary school. It was held in Oualana and most of the representatives where there. From thevillageofBonathere was only one out of 3, but he had to bike 25 km on a dust road to reach us.

It looks like the people are well motivated and are ready to help in the construction. They fist have to pay us a guarantee fee of € 230 per village. This amount will be given back to them if they have properly participated in the construction. This participation is in form of labor: gathering some wild stones for the foundations of the buildings, cleaning the construction site from bushes, digging the hole for the trees we want to plant and the cleaning of hectares of land. Since 5 villages are involved it is needed to have a good coordination of the work force, but also the villages have to be informed of what is going on. Each village has 3 representatives and this group has elected a board to define some responsibility. It went very fast and on our advice they have chosen a woman as treasurer. Women are much more transparent with money than the men.

This was the first meeting and they will have monthly meetings from now on.

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Désiré talking to the village representatives

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Two of the delegates                                   

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                             The future director of the school looking at the ground where the school will be built

On Thursday we were supposed to have a meeting with teachers. Unfortunately, their big boss had called some of them to Bobo. No point to have the meeting with half of the participants.  The meeting will take place after I leave.

Friday we had a meeting with the members of Opurkina. This is a cereal cooperative of 20 farmers. The working together concept seems to be very difficult to grasp. The result is a non working cooperative which is slowly dying. They will have to take major decisions for drastic change in their working relationship if they want to make it work. I have big doubts.

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Members of the Cooperative Opurkina

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Members of the Cooperative Opurkina

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Members of the Cooperative Opurkina

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The silo of the cooperative with corn from the fertilizer project of ASAP

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Water well

Today, Eugénie and I went to Banfora (town about 80 km from Bobo) to visit the 48 scholarships holders in secondary school we have there (22 boys and 26 girls). It is always a nice experience. We have a good group of kids who are working very well and will hopefully make it.
 

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Girls with some attitude

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Meal with the 48 kids

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The boys

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The girls

When driving out of Bobo going toOuagadougou, no more than 5km away, there is a place where people come to take sand. It is only 10 meters from the main road. There is no control from the environment ministry and I believe there will be some problem in a near future. The scenery is rather strange.

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How do you know that a kid is of school age in the country side? Kids do not have birth certificates and in order to know if it is of school going age, the teacher asks him to try to touch is left ear with his right hand, with his arm over his head. If he can touch his ear, he is over 6 years old and can attend school!

How do you know if a pair of trousers is a good size for you? On the market you cannot try clothes. In order to see if the waist size of the trousers you like is good for you, you fold the trouser waist around your neck. If you can complete the round of your neck, the trousers are a good fit!

Next message from Burkina in April.

Amitiés,

Hervé

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