It seems that my inspiration for this week blog is not here. It might be the heat and humidity we have now here or just a little tired after 8 weeks in Burkina.

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Nice blossom tree in front of the house of the women in Sokourani

Education in the village of Sokourani

Sokourani is a village of around 1200 people with around 60 births per year. Only 42 kids entered the primary school in October 2003. We wanted to know why about 1/3 of the kids did not attend school.

There was a good attendance at the meeting and the teachers were also present.

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Teachers of Sokourani

We try to make the villagers speak by asking questions: why did they ask us for a school 12 years ago? What have been the positive and negative things that the school has brought? Why do parents do not send their children to school? What do they have to do to change this?

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Like in most of the meeting we have in the villages only a few dared to speak. They are either leaders or old or both. Women also do not speak unless we insist. For the first 2 questions there was quiet a consensus that the school was for the development of the children and that it was mostly positive things that came out of the school. For the 3rd question, they denied that some children did not attend school!!! We had to ask the teachers who confirmed that not all children were in school and that some children were taken out of school during the year to help the father. Difficult to discuss what needs to be changed if they think that all kids are in school.

Their point of view is that all the kids who can attend school are in school. However there are kids staying behind to help the keep the oxen for the boys and to help the mother for the girls. Girls will go away from the family when they are married, the father will not invest too much in them. Among the boys they will choose the clever one(s) to attend school. The others will stay working with the father.

Changing mentality will take a very long time. Here the father has kids to work for him not because he wants to develop them to be better than him.

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Kids by the water well

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Women by the same water well

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Head is used to carry everything. The young girls left are carrying around 20 liters of water on their head!!

Problem between generations in Kouekouesso

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For this discussion with the villagers, we have asked some actors to help us via some little plays. The impact of those is much greater than when we only talk. The main purpose is to make them laugh of their bad habits.

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Right: Paco an actor playing a fake marabou. Left: a captivated old men

The first sketch was about a fake marabou. The villagers believe in fetishes. When Paco (the actor) showed the boll with feathers, some of the people in the audience almost jumped and moved backward.

The second sketch was about the lack of participation of the young people in the village’s development. Old men keep the responsibilities and the money for themselves. Also young people who may have gone to school only dream to get out of the village and are not really interested about their village.

The messages were very well received and the discussion which follows let us hope that some changes are possible. Wait and see.

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The chief of Kouekouesso who is a large part of the problem

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Paco leading the discussion after the sketches

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Proverbs of the week:

A patient man will eat ripe fruit. ~ African proverb
Un homme patient mangera des fruits mûrs. ~ Proverbe africain

Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. ~ Ibo proverb
Etre toujours pressé n’empêche pas la mort, aller lentement n’empêche pas non plus de vivre. ~ Proverbe Ibo

However long the night, the dawn will break. ~ African proverb
Quel que soit la longueur de la nuit, l’aube arrivera. ~ Proverbe africain

Have a good week.

Amitiés,
Hervé

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