Burkina Fasohas been calm in the past week. A new government has been put in place but without many changes in the people and directions. The apparent impunity of the militaries who took arms out of their compounds, shot in the streets and loot shops is not a very good example. The opposition calls for a large demonstration on Saturday 30 April. Nobody is really confident that the problems will go away.

I am supposed to go back to NL on April 30th viaAccra. I might have to get toAccra by car directly from Bobo without going throughOuagadougou. Same type of plan B we have adopted for Nicola whose plane was cancelled fromOuagadougou. Eugénie was able to change her ticket with departure fromBamako (Mali). Désiré drove her there on Tuesday and she is now safely back home.

As you know we are starting the building of a private agricultural secondary school: Lycée Agricole Privé LAP. It will start beginning of October with the first group of 70 children. This school will be teaching general subjects but also agronomy and husbandry. After 4 years of study they will be able to keep on their studies or go back home and hopefully be better farmers than their fathers. Since it is a private school yearly fees are not affordable for the villagers. We are looking for sponsors who wish to take care of part of the tuitions. If we do not have the sponsors, we will have to open the school to children of the cities (rich people) which is not really the purpose of the school. Quality education is very much on demand and it is rather scarce. So if you wish to help just contact us.

In all primary schools we are working with, the director of the LAP (Menohuan Gnoumou) presents the children with the concept of the LAP. We always start by asking the children if studies are required to be a teacher, they answer “yes”, same question for a nurse, answer “yes”. Then we ask if you need to study to be a farmer, all children in all schools we have been so far answer “no”. Then we have to make them understand that the answer should be “yes”. It will require more than just half an hour talk I think. On the other hand, they seems very interested by the fact that their will be a lunch program, that their will be uniforms, that their will be a football and basket ball field, that we will have some cultural activities (traditional music, dance, theater) and that their will be electricity. When we talk about the computer room, there is a big silence in the class. May be one of the children has seen a computer, none understand what it is. They have a long way to go.

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Children of Kofila

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Children of Oulana

We have also children with scholarship for boarding schools whom need to be selected. We will ask all the children having proper grades at the end of primary school to pass a test beginning of August which will help us make a proper selection.

Last week we drilled 2 water wells on the ground of the LAP. This week the wells had to be clean and the flow could be measured. Not fantastic flows. We have only 1,5 and 1 m3 / hour which is ok for a manual pump, but this might be not enough for a down hole pump filling a water tower. More investigation will need to take place. We took also some time to position the first buildings we will build: the first 2 class rooms and the first two houses for teachers.

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Cleaning one of the well

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The ground we have for the LAP

We are also working on the creation of 2 social businesses, one for the women with the shea butter and one for the farmers helping them to better produce.

We have just finalized a business plan for the Agricultural business: Sene Yiriwali So (House for the agricultural development) or SYS. It is difficult to explain to analphabet farmers the words social and business so we have changed it to concept they can relate to: house and development. My nephew Severin has made a very nice logo for it.

A farmer, who is working hard on his land, can expect a maximum of € 100 net per Ha per year. So if you take a small farmer with 4 Ha and a family of 10 people: 2 Ha are needed for the food and he is left with € 200 with the other 2 Ha. He has to live with this for a full year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully the woman (or women) of the house is able to bring also some cash with small trading and for some with the shea butter activity.

For the women the name of the business is Musso Ka Yiriwali So (MKYS): house for the development of the women.

The idea for the MKYS is also to increase the revenue of the women activities. It involves making of soap so that the women can also make money out of their trading expertise. More on this project will come later in the year.

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Bags with Shea butter from the villages

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Filtration and packing of the butter

On Wednesday we were in Nefrelaye. On the way we stopped by the local primary education inspector office in Satiri.  The inspector was not there, but his educational adviser was. I wanted to know why they had not yet done some training for teachers which we are sponsoring. The reason was that they had to implement a new system for the management of the primary school. The older situation was management via the parents association, the mothers association and the inspector’s office. It did not really work since nobody was helping the parents association to play its role. Instead of improving the existing system, some civil servants inOuagadougou, helped by the fact that there was money from the Japanese development funds, decided to complicate the system. Now there are 2 additional committees: on committee by rights and one executive committee. There are 3 books of 100 pages each explaining how to set up this new management program. Who is going to understand this? Yes the director and the inspector, but what about the villagers!!!!! It is crazy how people can be blind when money is involved. I have just started to read the books and the main objective is to give more responsibility to the local mayor and to decrease the costs for the state. No where do we talk about quality of education.

A good crowd came out in Nefrelaye specially women. We went through a lot of subjects and we asked if they had understood the new way of working for the school. The director was there and helped them to remember, but obviously this will create more confusion than it will help get better schools.

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Elders from Nefrelaye

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Elders from Nefrelaye
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Youngsters from Nefrelaye

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Youngsters from Nefrelaye

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Women from Nefrelaye

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Women from Nefrelaye

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The meeting

Thanks to Bertrand (A Petits Pas) we will be able to offer lights for the nursery school managers. The installation of the fixed part (cable, switch, converter..) will be done by ASAP. The person responsible for the nursery school will have to buy the battery and the solar panel at a subsidized price. Below a picture of thenursery schoolofKofilataken while we were informing them of this project.

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Yes the windshield is dirty! But on the right side you can see women pushing bicycles loaded with wood. They make 15 to 20 km one way to bring the wood to Bobo Dioulasso. Some women can do this twice a day. Coming to Bobo you have hills which are very steep. Guess how much a woman makes for one trip? Between € 1 and € 1,5!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Flamboyant in bloom in Bobo

I read this somewhere: “you are not afraid of the dew if you are riding an elephant”.

Take care and until next week.

Hervé

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