Hans and Gerard at the arrival in Fina

Another week has gone by. The 1st of November was a free day here (all saints day). This gave me the time to rest a little bit. Emmanuel (our local director) went to Ouagadougou (capital of Burkina Faso) to welcome Gerard and Hans van Kesteren.

Gerard and Hans are brothers. Gerard works in Zürich in a large logistics company. He has started a foundation and supports projects in many countries (Honduras, Indonesia…). Hans lives in The Netherlands, not too far from us and volunteers in the gallery as well. He looked at ASAP and informed Gerard about us. A few months later, they are here to visit the first project they are funding, the primary school extension of the village of Fina. In the meantime Hans has become a very active board member of ASAP.

Fina is the village where we did our first project, un rural medical center in 1997. After several projects in this village, a bridge, a silo for the women, a grinding mill also for the women and loans to farmers for oxen and fertilizer, we had to stop to work with this village 8 years ago. We had a lot of difficulties with poor and corrupted leaders in the village. During those 8 years we still had contact with the village trying to have the overdue loans paid back. In 2011 some large payments were received and we decided to look at the village again.

In this period of 8 years the village had grown a lot. It is now a village with more than 2.600 inhabitants. The increase came from new born babies but also from a lot of migrants interested by the potential of Fina's land. They are mainly from the Mossi and Peulh ethnic group. Mid 2012 we did a survey in the village and this is how the repartition of the ethnical group looks like.

Working together with so many  ethnic groups can be a problem. The Bobo are the land owners, all the other ethnic groups  are “guests”.


In 2011 over 160 children were born in Fina and to date 93 in 2012. This is not  good news for the demographic pressure in the future, but the worse is that there was only around 25 new children each year attending the primary school. Some of the reasons are  the lack of space in the class (only 3 classes for 6 levels), the water well which did not work and the lack of motivation for education from the parents. An Islamic school exists also in the village with an attendance of 120 children.

After a few visits to the village we decided to help fix the water well and looked for a sponsor for the school extension. We also gave microcredits to the women association: 276 women received a loan 10.000 cfa per woman for one year with an interest of 7%.

We could see the effect when we arrived at the village on Saturday. Three large groups of women were waiting for us at least 2 km from the village: the Bobo, the Mossi and the Peuhl. Each have their own dance and it was a competition between them to welcome us the best.

When we arrived at the school location it was amazing to see the amount of people gathered for the visit. Even the leaders of the village could not believe it: 400, 500 people…Of all the visits I have made in villages during 15 years I never saw so many people gathering in one day. Even more interesting was the fact that all the ethical groups were represented and that they seemed to be happy to be there. This is probably understandable since we did not come to discuss problems with them, but we were back and with people who can maybe helped them to support their development.


On the way to the primary school

The building of the new school started late due to the heavy rainy season and the very bad road going to Fina. It will probably be ready by the end of November.

Blog-4-november-2012-4The school being built. We are building one class room per year. We can see the foundation of the 2 other classes which will be built the next 2 years.

We are also building a house for teacher each year.

In the meantime, they have this year 64 new children in the school and we hope that it will become over 70 after our visit. There are still not many Peuhl  and not enough Mossi in the school. They are using the alphabetization center as a class room and we will have to provide a teacher, at least until the end of the year.



The new kids at the school, not knowing exactly what to do with their hands.

The main challenge will be for the various groups to keep working together for the good of the village. However the mobilization of the population for our visit was really a good example of what they can accomplish and they can be proud of it.

Probably your question is what has changed since 8 years ago? I do not think that it is only one thing. It has to do with what they see happening in other villages, also the relief that we came back to the village since we came via Jean Millogo a native of Fina and finally the time which has allowed some of the leaders to be put aside.

Blog-4-november-2012-6 Blog-4-november-2012-7

We even had the mask dances.



Birds on the way to Kouekouesso

Our visit to Kouekouesso on Tuesday was not as successful. There are major problems in the women associations. Désiré and Alain (from the social business karité) were with us. We still do not understand what the problems are. It has probably something to do with money. We will have to investigate further.

While Alain, Désiré and I  were talking to the women, Emmanuel and Jean François were busy with the teachers and the parents association. The school passed the inspection (the toilets doors need to be fixed) and the village is very motivated to send their kids in the school. Over 80 new children have been recruited. There are 112 kids in the last year. This is too much for one teacher and we are helping to split the class in 2 by providing a teacher.


The meeting in Kouekouesso


Typical yard of a Bobo house.

This was overall a good week for us. Hope that it was also for you.


Some of the people of Fina



Blog-4-november-2012-13 Blog-4-november-2012-14
Blog-4-november-2012-16 Blog-4-november-2012-15
Blog-4-november-2012-17 Blog-4-november-2012-18




A red bird with woodpecker like ambitions….

Il est difficile à un homme rassasié de croire qu'un autre a faim.

It is difficult for a satisfied person to believe that another one is hungry.
~ Proverbe africain

Qui attend le superflu pour donner aux pauvres ne leur donnera jamais rien.

Who awaits the superfluous to give to the poor will never give them anything.
~ Proverbe chinois

Hope this letter will find you in good health.


Blijf op de hoogte van onze ontwikkelingen!