My first case of malaria caught me last week. No energy to write a blog last Sunday (I did not know yet that I had malaria). After a week of not feeling so good, energy is back.
Finally the election date has been set for November 29. All the activities seem to be back to normal and France and the Netherlands have lifted their ban on travelling to Burkina.
Land ownership (part 1)
A major issue in Burkina is land ownership. Every village has what is called a “land chief”. He is an elderly person who is supposed to know exactly which land belongs to which family inside the village. Everything is in his head, nothing is written. Trees or other landmarks help him for boundaries.
These land chiefs have been slowly put aside and corrupted. This is particularly true when a town needs the land of villages to develop. Local officials (starting by the mayors) have made their fortune by selling plot of lands.
In rural villages the land chief still has some power. However, nobody in the village has an ownership title for the land he thinks belong to him. Limits between to farmers are not clear, neither between villages. There are many stories of farmers who planted a row of trees to limit his field and find all the trees unplanted the next day because the neighbor does not agree on the limit. What about the passages between plots…?
This uncertainty and the lack of documentation is a windfall for people who want to “free” others of their land.
It is possible to have an ownership title of your land, but it is a long a costly process. I will describe it next week.
The teachers from left to right:
Robert: French / History / Geography
Macaire: Studies director / Agronomy
Daouda: Superintendent / Math / PC
Sary: Sciences / Husbandry
Just missing on the picture is the sport teacher.
52 First year students
56 Second year students
53 Third year students
65 Fourth year students
Impact of traditions
There are a lot of believes in Africa. One of which several people have talked to me about is a belief that somebody can call lightning on somebody else.
The first time I heard about this was a few years ago when a young arrogant teacher in the village of Kouekouesso was flirting with a local girl. While he was away for a few days, local boys rampaged his house. Let me say also that Kouekouesso is a very animist village which uses fetishes and beliefs. The teacher came back, the police made an investigation and the village was going to take care of the damage. This young fool decided that this was not enough and he said to some elderly people of the village that he was going to call the lightning on the people who had done it. It was like signing his own death sentence. When the school director heard this, the teacher was immediately sent to another village. I am sure he would have been found poisoned he had stayed…
A few weeks ago, I was at the LAP and was awaken by Thomas, the person in charge of the boys’ foyer. He was with 2 young boys. One was shaking and the other one had problem to speak. It was stormy night and thunder was in the air. Thomas explained to me that one of the boys had said that he had called the lightning. We did not know on whom or what and how…. Apparently when he told the other boys in the foyer it was panic. Thomas had a lot of problems to calm them down. Then he decided to bring the 2 boys to us. Nothing we told them could make them change their mind. Their parents believe in it, they believe in it. The only way out was to tell them that the LAP grounds had been protected by the fetishes of Oualana (village where the LAP is located).
Quiz of the week
From which tree is this flower? (left)
This is an ear of sorghum (right)
Along the way
Tamarin fruits on the tree
Proverbs of the week
Le fleuve fait des détours parce que personne ne lui montre le chemin.
The river makes detours because no one shows it the way.
L’ombre du zèbre n’a pas de rayures.
The shadow of the zebra has no stripes.
Until next week.