The end of the rainy season is getting close. You can feel it with very strong winds before the rains and the drastic change of temperature after the rain as well as very high humidity. Many people are ill from cold and malaria in this period. 

I mentioned in a previous blog that the president wants to set up a senate in Burkina. The population realizes that this will be a lot of money wasted. People are saying if there is cash for a senate why not for us. Consequence is that teachers of primary and secondary school went on strike last Friday (end of the first school week of this New Year) asking for higher pay. The government is trying to derail the contestation by decreasing some level of personal taxes and by increasing the salaries of some corporations. For example, in major towns in Burkina there are groups of women who clean the streets very early in the morning (4, 5 AM). They were paid 15.000 CFA (23 euro) per month and now they will receive 37.500 CFA (57 euro). These women are not declared so that they can be fired at any time. You hear as well very troubling stories on how a woman can get this type of jobs!!!!!

Where is all this money suddenly coming from?

This week we had we call “budget” meetings with the villagers. We invite 11 leaders per village (men and women) to come to Bobo. 2 of the 10 villages were invited only as guests since we have some difficulties with them. Those 2 villages had to pay for their trip. Only one, Sissa, came the other one, Mogobasso, did not. The first day, we go back to the realizations of 2013, then we ask each village to present what projects they wish to have realized in 2014. We make also some presentation about potential new projects: cart for women, biological culture, improved oven, vegetable gardening. The second day we come back to their demands with comments and trying to understand their priorities. This year we hired a group of animators who performed on the theme “transparency and responsibility”. It is done with a lot of humor and using characters familiar by the villagers. After the performance, a debate is started and villagers have to say what they got from it. It was a big success. People were put in front of “mirrors” with all the wrong things that they are doing.

blog-6-okt-2013-2

blog-6-okt-2013-3

An important part of the meeting is food time.

blog-6-okt-2013-4

blog-6-okt-2013-5

Actors performing in front of the villagers

blog-6-okt-2013-6

It is a lot of work to be attentive for 4 days in a very hot room (no airco, 50 people in the room and 35oC outside), but it is worth it. Besides the time we spend with them, villagers talk to each other and this networking is very important.

Yesterday we went to the village of Kouekouesso to discuss with the women about their lack of participation at the nursery school. It did not start well with only a few women at the meeting place. We waited a bit and more women came. This village as a lot of communication problems between its various quarters. Information is or wrongly passed (wrong hours, wrong day or wrong subject) or not passed at all. They know they have a problem, but will they tackle it???

The discussion about the nursery school went rather well and some precise actions will take place to solve this lack of interest to help at the nursery school. There are already 64 children registered for this new year which is twice as many than last year at the same time.

blog-6-okt-2013-7

In another blog I talked about the women’s vegetable garden. A lot of them were implemented in July 2013. You can see that the trees are growing nicely.

blog-6-okt-2013-8

In Kouekouesso we help build a second primary school. We are doing this in 3 years. 

blog-6-okt-2013-9 blog-6-okt-2013-10

First teacher house and first class of the new school almost ready.

During the meeting we had in Bobo, one of the village counsellors approached us about a major problem in the rural area of Burkina: pregnancy of teenage girls who attend secondary school. Over 30% of the girls attending secondary school go back home pregnant. Half of those pregnancies come from local people who seduce the girls with a Coca-Cola or something to eat, the other half comes from the teachers themselves. They talk about “sexually transmitted grades”. You want good grades, do something for the teacher… The teacher will give you bad grades until you do something for him!!!!!

The village counselor is asking us to look at a project which could prevent or at least decrease this level of teenage pregnancy. It does not look easy, but we will think about it. Any ideas????

blog-6-okt-2013-11

Baobab tree and its fruits

blog-6-okt-2013-12

blog-6-okt-2013-13 blog-6-okt-2013-14

Kids

blog-6-okt-2013-15

Red birds far away

blog-6-okt-2013-16

Sesame field

blog-6-okt-2013-17

Mouche and her 4 kitten

Thanks to all of you who have helped reach our goal of fundraising on Global Giving. Children in Burkina are really grateful.

Saying of the week:
Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.
La connaissance est comme un jardin: si elle n’est pas cultivée, elle ne peut être récoltée.

This is all for this week.

Take care,
Hervé

Blijf op de hoogte van onze ontwikkelingen!