This first week of January was rather busy. As usual Eugénie would say. She has been busy in the house replacing mosquito nets on the windows. Not always easy to have the work done properly or on time. It always takes a lot of energy and patience.

Monday was a free day here (why? I do not think that anybody knew). We took advantage of this situation to have a meeting with the local inspectors of primary schools and their academic advisor. The purpose of the meeting was to make a plan in order to better support the teachers in primary schools. A lot of them have almost no experience and are not properly trained. In addition the schools have a lot of difficulties to have one teacher per class for the whole year: missing teachers, maternity leaves, sick teachers… Since around 66% of the teachers in our area are women, there are a lot of gaps because of pregnancies.

It was a rather good discussion and we are now waiting for a plan of action with a budget from the academic advisors. 

On Monday we received a call from some of the villages asking us to come to discuss the project of our private agricultural secondary school. They wanted to meet us the same afternoon. We managed to postpone the meeting to the Tuesday. It is always nice to be pushed instead of having to push. In our presentation in Bobo before Christmas, we had asked them to think about what could be their participation in building this school. They wanted us to be more specific in what we expected. In the discussion they proposed manpower, water for the construction and wild stones which they can find locally. Since for all our construction projects we ask for a cash deposit in order to guarantee the villagers participation, they also wanted to know the amount of this guarantee. We also answered questions relative to the studies themselves.  They are really motivated and we have to maintain this momentum.


Delegates of the villages

Francois explaining something

Children of Toungana where we had the meeting

Children of Toungana where we had the meeting

Wednesday I met with Julienne, the manager of SNV in Bobo. This meeting helps us communicate on the social business concept and more particularly on the social business for karité (shea).

Thursday we had two groups going to all nine villages to make a control of the maintenance of the school buildings. Eugénie and Désiré went to visit 4 villages and with Jean Francois (advisor in Burkina) we did the other 5. Surprisingly efforts were made to have the schools cleaned for our visit. Some villages had even invested in cement to repair some holes in the floor. Still a lot to do, but it is encouraging. This inspection was supposed to be a way of confirming that if they had cleaned, we would send the goods for the lunch program for the 2nd period of the school year. When we arrived in the villages we were told that the government had already sent supplies for 4 months. No more leverage with our control!!!

Water well at the school of Kofila


Trees with flowers along the road

Friday we had planned a meeting in Kwekwesso to talk about the agricultural social business. The objective of this social business is to help farmers produce better, more and to get more results from their work. We have a program called “fertilizer project” in which we provide some fertilizer and corn seeds for one hectare for all farmers. The objective of this fertilizer project was to help farmer to have some food security for their family. The new social business is more to help farmers to work more land and to produce more from the land. Not all the farmers will participate and they will get input for more than just one hectare. I am not sure if my explanations are really clear. Tell me if not and I will try again.

We had over 100 farmers from 5 villages for this presentation. We made them think about their situation and what they need to do to be better off. They concluded that the major drawback is the ability to change mentality, then the means to apply the changes. It was a very good exchange.


Farmers listening to our explanation

Farmers listening to our explanation

The coming week will also be busy, Eugénie will be inOuagadougoutogether with Barbara (she is taking care of the sales of the bronze statues). I will have to cook……..

To close this letter a small story I got from a friend:

An old Imam asked his children:

How do you know when the night stops and the day starts?

–          “Is it when you can see from far whether it is a dog or a sheep?” asks one child.

“No”, says the Imam.

–      It is when you can easily see the difference between a date palm and a fig tree? asks the one.

“No”, says the Imam.

–      “So please tell us when it is day?”

His answer was: “It is when while looking at the face of any person, you aknowledge them as your brother or your sister. Until then it is still night in your heart…”

En français:

Un vieil Imam demandait un jour à ses enfants :

« Comment peut-on reconnaître le moment où la nuit s’achève et où le jour commence ? » 

– « C’est quand on peut de loin distinguer un chien d’un mouton ? »

« Non », dit l’Imam.

–«  C’est quand on peut sans peine distinguer un dattier d’un figuier ? »

« Non », répondit encore l’Imam.

– « Mais alors quand est-ce donc qu’il fait jour ? »

L’Imam répondit :

« C’est lorsqu’en regardant le visage de n’importe quelle personne, tu reconnais ton frère ou ta sœur. Jusque là, il fait encore nuit dans ton cœur…. »

Sunset in Kofila


Take care and until next week.


Blijf op de hoogte van onze ontwikkelingen!