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  Burkina Faso, a country to build
May 15th, 2007 - DAY 700
 

Six weeks of cooperation
During the last five weeks, we’ve worked as volunteers in the village of Bérégadougou, in the western part of Burkina-Faso.  We joined our efforts with those of Pierrette, Caroline’s aunt, to create a Web site for the Wouol association. (We will let you know when the site is online). This association is a group of local farmers and processing plant owners whose main products are dried mango and grilled cashew nuts.  We also put together a promotional leaflet for the association.

 

3000 pictures
Meanwhile, Uncle Claude set up an analytical accounting system for the association.  Thanks to all the pictures Patrick had taken – almost 3000 in a month -, we put together an exhibition that was seen by many of the country’s politicians and leaders.  Patrick also took the opportunity to help a young Burkina-Faso photographer improve his technique and provided him with photo equipment.

 

Invest in the future
Thanks to the generosity of Action Services Group, we were able to invest in the future of four Burkina-Faso youngsters living in extremely difficult conditions, in allowing them to go to school till the end of college.

We loved our experience, because it allowed us to meet resourceful and open-minded people.  We met and exchanged with various groups, all with interesting projects for the community’s development.  However, we did feel powerless when faced with the various essential needs still to be filled and the lack of organization of certain associations we would have liked to help financially.

 

International aid, really helpful?
After many discussions and sleepless nights, we came to the conclusion that the help provided had to be about the transmission of knowledge and the setting up of tools to help the Burkina-Faso people be more autonomous. We remain divided about whether all international help sent here is truly helpful, or if it only helps appease a few consciences. Burkina-Faso received billions of dollars from rich countries,  but the great majority of that money ended up benefiting mostly dishonest and greedy people, instead of helping people who live with under 350 $US per year.

 

It is upsetting to hear sixteen-year-olds saying openly, laughing almost, that they had done nothing all day. They claim to be looking for something to do and beg us to help them.  Such a situation is out of our understanding.  But faced with such a lack of resources and education, who can blame them?

Up to 150 students in the same classroom

 

On our way to Benin
Next week, we will be on a safari in the Pendjari Park, in the northern part of Benin, to capture images of lions, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, gazelles and hippopotamuses. After that, we will be flying to Egypt, where we will spend the next two weeks.

 

Traveling at a different pace
Our great adventure, the adventure of our lives, will soon take a new pace.  We plan on going back to Quebec in early June.  We have yet to decide where we will be working, even in which city we will be living.  We plan on continuing our adventure, but traveling only a month or two a year.

 

We feel the need to find a home and be closer to our family and friends.  All doors are opened; it is at the same time exciting and scary.  We are confident life will take us on unsuspected paths.  It is up to us to stay alert to all opportunities.

 
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