Rains have stopped for 5 days now. We now wish that they would come back to lessen the heat a bit. We are never happy. At least farmers are able to harvest their peanuts, beans and corn without too many difficulties.

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Harvesting peanuts

General news about Burkina

It is supposed to be the beginning of the school year. However, going through the villages, there is little activity around the schools. Teachers are coming very late at their posts this year. Only the ones who have cultivated around their school have come to protect and harvest their fields.

There was supposed to be a strike of all the teachers in our area (primary and secondary schools) last Monday. They did not register the strike at the government in time, so it will be coming later in the month. The claims are for more money and to stop the reform mixing primary and secondary schools. Burkina should stop taking all the bad things from France like striking even before talking.

Normally the entrance to secondary school for a child is based on the grade he has got for the final exam of primary school. The ministry knows how many places there are in the secondary schools and fix the grades kids have to have in order to have the right number of students. With this rule, about 70% of the students succeeding at their exam of primary school can enter secondary studies.

Now the government has received a lot of money to develop secondary studies. But for that they have to achieve a certain increase in the number of students entering secondary school. So during the vacation they announced that all students who had succeeded at their exam will have access to secondary studies. One month later they realized that there were far too little places and they came back to the previous selection criteria. Two weeks after that they reverted the decision again. Now kids do not know where they can go to school!!!!! There is a lack of schools (government will requisition empty buildings), a lack of teachers (the government is asking teachers of primary school with university level to apply). A big mess. Then there will be a lack of teachers in primary schools.

Gardening in Nefrelaye

A new project is almost implemented in the village of Nefrelaye. The villagers want to have some activities during the dry season. Gardening is a possibility if they have water. We have fenced an area of more than 1 Ha. In this area a water well was drilled (130 meters deep), a downhole pump installed which is powered by solar panels and 2 basins where built.

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Lower basin with solar panels

Upper basin

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Lower basin

The fenced-in area has been seeded with sesame by the women for the rainy season. It will be then divided in lots of 10m by 9m which will be attributed to the villagers, members of the gardening association.

Dam of Sissa

blog 12-10-2014 4This dam was built at least 25 years ago with Japanese funds (before we arrived in Burkina). It was supposed to help the villagers to do some gardening. Three villages were involved. Because the villages could not work together, no gardens where implemented and no maintenance for the dam. Results can be seen on the picture on the right.

The dam at least was able to hold a good level of water which helped to keep the water table rather high.

Villagers will soon have problem with water. But they look at their dam with big eyes, but without actions.

Some news about the LAP

This year an area of about one hectare was planted with soy. Hares like young soy leaves very much. At least a quarter of the field was destroyed by them.

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Soy field at the LAP

blog 12-10-2014 7In a previous container I brought a scythe (“faux” in French). I have tried to have it used by the maintenance guys at the LAP without success. It is better than to use the machete. Last week I tried again. The position of the person on the picture is not that good, but it is a start.

Let’s see how long they will use it.

 

 

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A sesame plant at the LAP, pods along the stem

Birds

This week we encountered new birds. Our new math teacher Daouda Dao at the LAP is a bird watcher and he identified 62 species in one month on the grounds of our school.

blog 12-10-2014 9This bird is called hamerkop (Ombrette Africaine in French).

It builds a very large nest. Each year he adds a new room to the nest for the new egg.

In the Senufo tradition (ethnical group in Burkina), the song of this bird in the evening is sign of a death. If it crosses your road left to right it is a bad sign for your trip, from right to left it is a good sign.

 

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A small long tail bird courting in the air. Nice dance.

Proverb of the week

One who eats alone cannot discuss the taste of the food with others.
Celui qui mange seul ne peut pas discuter le goût de la nourriture avec les autres.

Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right. ~Ethiopian Proverb
Mangez quand la nourriture est prête; parlez quand le moment est venu. ~ Proverbe éthiopien

Until next week.

Hervé