Our first visit this week was for the village of Sokourani. As outsiders,  we realize that there is  a lot of difficulties between the leaders of this village. Difficulty of communication, difficulty in setting up  one way for the development of the village.  What makes it more difficult is that the leaders have all family ties. You have to know that in Burkina (but I think this is also in other African countries) you will never go directly against a family member. You might not agree, but you keep your mouth shut.

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Women of Sokourani

Most of you know about the Dutch straight forwardness which is completely the opposite of what we have here.

Anyway, the leaders are not working together, and they cannot talk about the problems between each other. Consequence of this was that only 1 participant came to our meeting last week when we had invited 7.

The purpose of the meeting in the village was not to talk about this low attendance, but to discuss if ASAP was not one of the problem the leaders had. There was a lot of people attending the meeting. However, my feeling is that it was just “cosmetic” to make sure that we keep supporting some of their projects and that the situation between leaders had not changed. We will probably have to have a meeting just with the leaders to understand better the situation and to see if we can help.

We are always trying to illustrate situation with some little plays. To show them that they have to communicate to have a better development we ask 7 or 8 men to step on 6 bricks at the same time. There is not enough space for each of the men to put 2 feet on the bricks but they have to put on foot and brace themselves in order to be on the bricks.

Every time we do this act, all the men push each other’s to be on top of the bricks. Obviously this does not work. Normally there is somebody in the crowd who tell them to coordinate their effort and to step on the bricks with one foot.

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Try without coordination Try with coordination

There is still a lot of work to do in this village with the leaders. They have also the goal to have at least 50 new children at the primary school, only 26 were registered when we were in the village.

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Sissa people after the meeting

Sissa was our second village this week. The biggest difficulty in this village is the negative trend of children at school as well as results at the primary school exam. It is a combination between lack of responsibility of the parents as well as the lack of responsible teachers.

I always try to take one man as example to show the importance of education. I start by asking the man how many hectares he cultivates, then how many kids he has. By making realize that all his male children will not have enough land to support a family, we hope that he will me more willing to send his kids to school.

I was not really helped this time. The men I choose told me he cultivates 1,5 Ha. Even so this was not true (other men told him to be honest, but he insisted with this number). He has 3 kids (10, 7 and 2 years old). I ask him if the 10 and 7 where in school. He said that the 10 years old had quit the house to go work in the gold mines and that the 7 years old was at the village Muslim school. When I ask him why he did not look for his 10 years old, he answered was “he left”…….Unfortunately, there are many parents like this. No bonds with the children, who cares we can always make another one!!!!!!!

This type of mentality will be hard to change especially if there is a minority of children going to school.

Blog 21 October 2012 5The school being the key to many things, we will go back to Sissa later this trip together with the local inspector. We will have a meeting only with the parents association and the teachers.

The idea is that each of the party makes a plan of what they will do to turn around the situation.

We have already seen that the meeting in Bobo last week has had some positive effect. A delegation of the village had gone to the local town hall to write down all the children who were born in 2005. They have then informed all the 56 parents that there kids had to be in school. I did not expect such a quick action. Nice!!!!!

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Girl from Sokourani Teacher of Fina with  her baby

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Elder people from Fina

Yesterday we went to Fina to see the progress of the building of the  school. Because the access of the village was impossible for trucks until 2 weeks ago, the building has started late. But we could see that it is now well underway with a very strong participation of the population.

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School foundation in Sissa

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Not very sharp picture of the women bringing water for the construction of the school

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Men of Fina digging the hole for the school  latrines. What is nice to see is that the main ethnical groups of the village work together (Bobo, Mossi and Peuhl).

Anyway to resume the week: very positive reactions in the villages following the meeting last week in Bobo and still  a lot of work to be done.

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Question of the week: from which tree is this flower?

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A young kid pumping on one of the “blue pum
p” we have installed without difficulty. This pump is made in The Netherlands and is the best for this type for this environment.

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A cotton field ready for harvesting.

Quand la mémoire va ramasser du bois mort, elle rapporte le fagot qui lui plaît
When the memory go to collect dead wood, it brings back the bundle he likes

Si la branche veut fleurir, qu’elle honore ses racines
If the branch wants to flourish, it has to honor its roots.

Every day is a new life.

Until next week,


Blijf op de hoogte van onze ontwikkelingen!