April is definitely the month to avoid Burkina for the climate: high temperature, humidity getting higher and higher. It is also when electricity is the most in demand creating shortages every day. Difficult to work efficiently when you do not know when you will have electricity.
Some words about the political situation in Burkina
As you may know, last year in October a rather soft revolution sent the president away from Burkina. A transition government has been put in place until new elections in November 2015.
Political parties are already starting to get mobilized behind their candidates. Almost all of them have been previously in or around government under the previous president. This means that it will be difficult to fight corruption and prosecute people since they have been corrupted themselves in the past.
Messages from the transition government is also not clear.
At the beginning of the year the thrown out president came back to Burkina. For what? To take back some personal papers and over 2.000.000 euro from his old palace!!!!! Explanation: the safe in the palace could be opened only with the digital print of the president…………..A lot of the people in the transition government are still linked with the ex-president.
But on the other side, this week several ex-ministers and high ranking officials were arrested for mishandling funds. What about the ex-president and his brother? Also a new election law was put in place not allowing people from the party of the ex-president to be candidates.
Let’s hope that the elections will be free, transparent and peaceful.
We have gotten some funding from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) for a beekeeping project. The project is to distribute 5 hives each to 20 farmers after they have been trained in a modern way of beekeeping.
Pictures of a swarm nesting on a Baobab tree. On this particular tree there were at least 6 swarms.
I know that bees have to be protected, but they can be a pain in the country side. In March and April a lot of swarms are coming out of existing hives. They look for a new place to settle. Often they go into the roofs of houses which can be dangerous. Unfortunately the only way to get them out is to kill them. Why don’t we provide them with hives you would say? There are so many of the free swarms that it is impossible to provide a roof for each of them. Another problem is water. Bees drink a lot! At the LAP we provide them with some troughs. But the free swarms come to drink around the water points where women and children take out water. Not a very pleasant cohabitation.
Modern hives at the LAP
With the 10 hives we have at the LAP we have collected 25 liters of honey one month ago. Fruit trees such as mango-, shea- and néré trees (African locust bean) had a lot of flowers this year.
An apiary of 5 hives should bring an income of about € 75 per year with not too much work (bees are working for you).
Difficulties for villagers to take actions against bad behavior
In past blogs we have talked about the gardening project in Nefrelaye. To be a member of the association of gardening, a farmer has to pay € 40. This is a sort of share of the association which is given back if the farmer leaves the association.
This association is new and we wanted to help them with the control of the payment. After several tries to get the books and after discussing with the women treasurer, we asked them to call for an extraordinary meeting to clarify the situation. Most of the members were there. The only important person missing was the president.
Women of Nefrelaye looking at the results of their gardening
The association has 60 members but only 36 had paid part or all their contributions. The amount collected was 370.000 CFA of which only 250.000 CFA was available on hand. Where had gone the other 120.000 CFA. The secretary then produced a receipt for 80.000 CFA for “expenses”. What expenses?????
The situation was known by the village and this is why members stopped paying their contribution. But nobody dared to expose the president since he is the brother of the local chief.
This is a general problem: acts do not have consequences. Will the village be able to confront the president of this association? Will they be able to get back the funds he stole from them? To be continued.
The baby really would like to reach the finger of the woman on the right.
Women during the meeting in Nefrelaye
Last Friday it was the teachers meeting to look at the results of the second trimester of the students. They show a lot of improvement over the first trimester. There are still some difficulties (discipline wise) with some students of the 3rd year, but overall students really work hard.
When I say that they work hard, unfortunately they do not work in an efficient, clever way. It is not by looking at your books for hours that you learn.
We need some help to train our teachers in better way to teach and we need some help to train the students in better ways to learn.
Do you know institutions, schools which could help us with this?
Onion harvest from the 2nd year.
Left, piglets one day old. Below, same piglets 4 weeks old
Grinding mill building with its drying platform (covered with sand which is wetted each day to slow down the drying of the cement)
Middle the motor of the mill, right the husker and left the mill.
Bird of last week
The bird of last week is a “Coucal of Senegal”
Proverb of the week
Seulement ceux qui se préoccupent de toi peuvent t’entendre lorsque tu es silencieux
Only those who care about you can hear you when you are silent
Il est difficile d’accepter la vérité lorsque les mensonges étaient exactement ce que tu voulais entendre
It is difficult to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to hear
Only one week to go for this trip in Burkina Faso.