It has been a strange week with excitement regarding the start of the new school year at the LAP and disappointment with the political situation in Burkina.

Rains are still coming every day where I am. The sun does not come out very often farmers start to worry about the molds coming on the plants.

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Political situation

You might have heard that a coup d’état took place last Wednesday. The presidential guards (1200 people), kidnapped the president and the prime minister. For over a day there was no information on the reason behind this act. Then out of the blue came general Dienderé. He had been working for 25 years for the ex-president Compoaré. No clear message about the purpose of the coup from him either.

It looks like the main problem is immunity. The presidential guard has been involved in many killings and executions under Blaise Compoare (in Burkina and in other countries). Dienderé and Blaise Compoaré are linked to the assassination of Thomas Sankara 28 years ago. The leaders of the CDP party (political party of Blaise) have also been involved in a lot of misappropriation of funds. Each of those groups or people are not at ease to see other people in charge. In addition a recommendation came out Monday to dissolve the presidential guards. Taking in account the advantage they have, they want to keep those privileges.

Two presidents of neighboring countries are in Ouagadougou to “negotiate”. The population is not at all ready to negotiate. The young people have put barricades on all main roads in the country. There is also a general strike. Presidential guards are only in Ouagadougou. They have been shooting with real bullets in the streets (very often drunk or drugged). From what I heard yesterday 500 of the 1.200 presidential guards have deserted.

Since Wednesday afternoon, gasoline stations, banks, large shops are closed. People start to have some difficulties to commute and to have some cash. This morning I was out for a jogging at 6:15, there was already a large queue of motorcycles and cars at the gas station nearby. Normally at this time on Sunday, you only encounter people going to churches.

The general strike is also creating a lot of problems in the hospitals. Many people are dying because of the lack of doctors / nurses….

The LAP

This week students of the first and fourth year came the LAP for the start of the new school year. I went there from Sunday to Wednesday.

We have selected 60 new students for the LAP from the villages where we are active with ASAP. Some of the villages are 75 km away. With the heavy and constant rains we have, the dirt roads (more mud than dust) are very difficult to handle. Because of the lack of bridges, water stops you to go further at many places. New students who were supposed to arrive last Monday arrived little by little throughout the week. Some will come only today or tomorrow.

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First year students who made it to the school.

No lectures during the first week, but work on the school (cleaning, harvesting) and what we call “animation”.

We have several objectives: create a cohesive group (children come from different villages).

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Fourth year students cleaning the school yard.

Now some of the situations we encountered in registering the new students.

One influent father in one village learned that his daughter Fatoumata Zara was on the waiting list. His own father’s daughter Karidja was directly accepted. Parents of the selected children had received a letter, which they had to send back signed in order to pre-register their child. Our contact in this village told us that Karidja would not come to the LAP because of lack of funds. We then call Fatoumata Zara as a replacement. So far nothing strange. When we were registering the children, Karidja was there. Her uncle swears that nobody had sent a negative answer for her… Since Fatoumata Zara was accepted, he could bring Karidja to us, forcing us to take her!!!!

To complicate a bit more the situation, the letter sent to the father of Fatoumata Zara had been sent to the parents of another Fatoumata!

This Fatoumata and her father came to register. We could not find her in the list of children who had passed the test of entry. She insisted that she had done the test. The supervisor of the test was in the room. We ask her to identify him. She could not. The father understood and left with the girl.

The 2 other classes (2nd and 3rd years) are coming in today. Let’s hope that I can go to the LAP on tomorrow.

Birds

Staying at the LAP helps to see many birds. Daouda (Math teacher) has identified 107 birds.

Last year I took some picture of the Pin-tailed whydah Last year I took some picture of the Pin-tailed whydah.

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The male has a long tail and uses it to impress the females. He can have several females. The female uses nests of other species to lay her eggs.

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Hello! Hellooooooooooooo!
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Impressive, No? Why are you turning away?

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COME BACK!!!!

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Local sparrow and canary birds

Environment

I found this picture on the net. May be you have seen it already. It will replace the proverb of the week.

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Next week more news about Burkina.

Amitiés,

Hervé