I know that in Europe the cold weather is still there. Here in Burkina, we have gone without transition to the heat. Day temperature went from 37 to over 40oC and night temperature from 20 to 26oC. We even had some little rain on Thursday which brought humidity. The dust in the air was gone for a day, but the sweating went up.
It has been a positive week just like the previous one. Not everything works has we wish, but we had some nice breakthroughs.
On Tuesday Eugénie, Yvonne and Fred went to Ouagadougou. Yvonne and Fred to catch a plane to go back home and Eugénie to follow up on the order of statues.
The past week Yvonne and Eugénie had sorted out over 200 boxes of second hand clothes which we had in our garage from the last container.
|Distribution of boxes of clothes in Toungana|
We are also distributing mosquito nets. Woman who want one have to pay 1.000 CFA (€ 1,50). We decided that we had to empower the women association of the villages. We are leaving a stock of mosquito nets with the president of the association and each time we pass by we can collect the payment and / or leave a new stock.
Mosquito nets stock left in Kouekouesso
On Tuesday we went to walk the marigot of Sokourani. During the rainy season of last year over 100 Ha of lands where flooded with 100% loss of the crops. Sokourani village has most of its land at Gongoma on the other side of a protected forest. Along this forest is a river which goes overboard each time the rains are a bit heavy. Villagers have to travel close to 8 km to their land.
We went and walk the “marigot” with Karim (head of the agricultural social business), Odile, a contractor and some villagers from the road coming from Sokourani to the “marre aux Hippos”. It was about 6 km one way, but with the heat and the detours of the marigot, it felt much longer.
It was very interesting. Along the river there are a lot of trees. Some very old and very big. Unfortunately, some people are starting bush fires and the trees are not spared. We managed to stop one of the fires, but while we were coming back, we could see another huge fire at the horizon. It is a shame. When we ask the villagers why people are doing this we do not get any answers. A possibility is that people taking care of cattle put the fire so that grass will grow with the humidity and can feed their cattle. Difficult to understand. We can only see the consequences.
Bush fire in the dry river bed
Old tree (villagers talk over 500 years old) roots burned by the wild fire. Will he survive?
From left to right: contractor, Karim, Martin (head of Sokourani) and Odile
We stopped at lunch to discuss the possibilities of how to stop the flooding. After what we saw, the only way is to build a dike which will protect the land. The land is very flat and the river bed is also very flat.
One of the reasons of the flooding is the erosion filling in the river bed due to the culture very close to the river. In seems that this increased drastically when farmers started to use oxen to work the land.
The villagers would have to give away a space of at least 50 meters between the river bed and the dike and in order to consolidate the dike, trees will be planted on the dike. This should protect from flooding. We have not been able to find way to use the water going through the river.
A quick estimation from the contractor gave a cost of over € 100.000 for this work. On the other side the loss of the farmers because of flooding is over € 50.000 per year of revenue and € 15.000 of lost input (fertilizer and seeds).
We will try to help the villagers to find part of the needed funds. Part should be coming from the farmers themselves.
Some pictures of what we encountered along the way.
Left: A grain silo built in such a way that termites and
rodents cannot go into the silo.
Right: A karité tree (Shea tree) in full bloom
Small termite hills. Very cleverly built to be protected from the rain.
Tree looking like scare crow at the “marre aux Hippos”
Liana along a tree May be difficult to see, but there is a swarm of bees in the trunk of this tree
|Elephant shit (did not see them)||Nice yellow flowered tree (nice for the bees)|
Cotton waiting to be picked up
Thursday we spent some time at the LAP. We arrived when the children of the first year were preparing the ground of their vegetable garden.
The girl with a yellow scarf has around her neck a cow skull. Each time a student speaks his native language thus not French he has to wear the skull until she or he finds somebody else who fails to speak French. The girls wearing the skull is actually not the one who failed to speak French. It is the girl on the right. But she took over from her as a good friend. During this visit we saw the progress of the buildings of the Girls Foyer. Unfortunately, it will be only ready to receive the girls in 2 weeks' time, over 2 months delay.
Left: The house of the head of the girls foyer and the house for her colleague
Right: The kitchen and store room under construction
|The refectory / study room||The side of the toilets and showers|
On Friday we had a meeting with the women associations in Bobo. 3 women per village. The objective was to have Odile know a bit better some of the women leaders of the village as well as the status of their association.
Only 2 villages out of the 8 invited seem to be a bit organized. All of them are headed by older women which does not help to have some change of mentality. Younger women do not dare to present themselves to be a leader in front of older women and very often older women do not want to let go their position.
We will spend some time in each village to re-explain what is an association and the role of its leaders. Since most of the women are analphabet, we will have to use some theater play in order to pass the message.
When this is done we will ask each village to select their leaders and we will then train them and help them to fulfill their duties. A lot of work for Odile.
We also discuss the various projects the associations participate in. The most popular project is the microcredits, come after that the mosquito nets project and the second hand clothes.
After the meeting the meal
In Burkina there are several Mobile telephone providers. Thanks to the IMF who insists on privatization, the state company was sold to a Moroccan company. In the agreement, there were some conditions regarding the workers who were going to be laid off as well as conditions for the ones staying. The workers are trying to get the agreement applied without success. We were a bit surprised at the beginning of the week to have a lot of difficulties to make calls. Then on Wednesday and Thursday there was no more reach. First it was a technical problem. Then it was employees on strike who shut down the network (good old French habits). The banks, the electricity and water company which use this network could not operate. When you are used to call people when and where you want, it was a bit of a nightmare. Since Saturday the phone is back. Everybody is catching up with their calls, saturating the network. Nice!!! If you look at the news here it does not even make the front page?
Only one week to go for me for this trip. It will be mai
nly a week in the office rounding up things and making some plan for the next 3 months.