Typical landscape at this time of the year in the villages

Yesterday, Eugenie arrived from The Netherlands. Since I had some business to attend to in the capital Ouagadougou I travelled Friday afternoon from Bobo Dioulasso.

Trip to Ouagadougou was long but without any problems. It seems that it is not possible to have a proper road the whole way between Ouagadougou (capital of Burkina) and Bobo Dioulasso (second town where we have our house and the ASAP office). Half way there is the town of Boromo. When the part between Boromo and Bobo is good then the one between Boromo and Ouagadougou is bad, or the other way. It takes over 5 hours to drive the 360 km.

Some specificities of the mentality in Burkina (probably in general in Africa):

Role of the family: I should say extended family. Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts do not have the same meaning than we have in Europe. A younger brother can be the sun of an uncle, an uncle can be an older cousin… The role of the extended family is very important. It has some positive but also negative aspects.

Positive is the social coverage it gives in the family. In general people without a roof will be taken in by the extended family, they will be also fed. One with some better resources than others might help with school fees for children of a brother or sister.

However some members of the family are using this to their advantage and are living off the other family members. If you are the head of a large family or with more resources than the others this can be a major problem. Since people cannot say “no”, it is a challenge to be able to develop in this environment.

blog-2014-02-25-2Proud mother with baby

(big tummy because of malnutrition or worms)






Meeting with the leaders of the village of Kofila:

We have been working with the men of this village for over a year to implement vegetable gardens for the young so that they have activities during the dry season. About two weeks ago and after we had found the funds for this project, they told us that they do not want the project any more.

We asked the leaders to come to our office (10 men and 3 women) to discuss it. We actually asked them to explain to us how the decision process works in their village. We could not get a clear answer. Besides the leaders we normally interact with, there are also elders who have the power of decision above the official organization. This did not come out directly in the discussion, but it transpired from it.

Regarding the vegetable gardens, the official reasons they put forward not to go with it were the difficulties for them to work together in an association and the problem of the land where the gardens would be located. We thanked them to have stopped the project before we had started it (positive) but told them that maybe they should have thought about it at the beginning, before all the work on the project (negative).


Visit of the village of Zatama to discuss with the women about Shea butter:


As you can see, mobile phone works (front middle: president of the association answering a call)


Odile talking to the women in one of the class rooms.




Pictures of the Nere tree and fruits. Very important for the nutrition of the villagers. The red flower transforms into beans which have a lot of proteins. The beans are transformed in what they call “sumbala”.







Mouche (mother) and Blacky, our cats in Burkina

Proverbs of the week on learning:

Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases.
Si vous utilisez votre richesse, elle diminue ; la connaissance augmente si vous l’utilisez.

Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off.
Les oreilles qui n’écoutent pas les conseils, accompagnent la tête quand elle est coupée

If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents
Si vous fermez les yeux sur des faits, vous apprendrez par des accidents.

Next week some more news.

Take care,


Blijf op de hoogte van onze ontwikkelingen!