Updates by Michael Lavoie
Friday in Dargo. I know it is not possible to recount all the moments of marvel that happen here. If I can remember them in the first place, I can only drill down so far into them, striking bottom water once in a while.
This morning we visited several locales in Dargo:
1. The Lycee or High School that is in its first year and Noelie and Christophe' twins, Ado and Anna are in the freshman class and will be its first graduates. I spoke of the importance of the two anniversaries and what they stand for. Beyond that I spoke of how we are all students together and it is an honor to be with them. A Moore inspiration hit me and I recounted the proverb about "Ned sen ouabde yiu..." And how good they have been to me and how that is not forgotten. Nor should they forget those that teach them now and they should be encouraged through difficult times. And Ana was in that class. Ado was not there that day--she was home with a bout with malaria. I asked
If I could sit next to Ana for a minute and the student next to her obliged. A photo was taken of us and then I asked for a second photo with the student who gave me his place. It was very special. Ana was a perfect student.
The head of the school expressed their need for some laboratory materials and office equipment which is almost non-existent. Any help in the future would be greatly appreciated.
2. The Elemetary school where Kabsi, noelie's next daughter attends school. There, with some 55 students, they teach in groups of 5 or 6. I joined Kabsi's group. We also talked again of the importance of the two anniversaries and what they stand for. I joined Kabsi's group for a few minutes. Leaving, I again expressed praise and appreciation for their hospitality.
3. Bob McCormick. We met a man who actually worked with Bob on a well and to whom Bob actually gave some of his materials when he left. He confirmed Bob's nick name was "Koom Naba". We also visited one of his wells that is still being used daily! The school that he helped build is still there as is the house he lived in that is now a police station. Check out the pics to come later.
4. The Dispensary compound. There are more than 500 births a year here and countless medical problems. That CMU donated $1,000 that will be used to repair the ambulance was a huge help. You can't imagine how much this was appreciated. The dispensary and its complex of a pharmacy and maternity ward has seen no improvements in more than 20 years and is crying out for help. The infirmier who runs it was so dedicated yet humble--so impressive. He asked me to please pass on his requests for support to my friends in America.
5. La Librairie de Katie Lavoie. Now that electricity came to Dargo in April 2010, Noelie has moved her office supply store from Boulsa to Dargo. She has a copier and office supplies. She explained that people first thought the name was just that it was on the road ("la voie") but she eventually convinced everyone it was derived from my oldest daughter's name who was here in 2000.
While at her store, Colonel Ouedraogo called Christophe and spoke with me with apologies for his absence due to illness but with mutual appreciation for the visit. We expressed eagerness to see each other after I return to Ouaga in 2 weeks.
6. Back for lunch at their house. Everyone agreed it was a marvelous morning with the school visits leading the way with the team photo under the baobob at a close second. Afterward, Ana raised a concern about the morning that made her cry. I made a gift in her class of the plastic bracelets for the girls. The principal was supposed to ask Ana to distribute them but asked another student to do so. She was put to tears over it. So, we talked about it, about how the other student must be very happy, about how Ana and evryone knows it her family that made this happen and how she has great joy from that and all the things we did 4 years ago and now. Ado, Ana and I then watched by ourselves the Namtenga videos and talked about their hopes for the future, and about how they both want to be nurses to be able to help people. By the end, Ana returned to smiles.
7. Met with Joseph Ganaba, my former house boy, this morning. We talked about some incidents in the village and I was pleased to see that he was actually chief of foreign visitors. I was also reminded that I actually went to Dargo wedding. The bride came by and visited with me.
8. Cori d'or. This is one of Noelie's businesses. She is basically a bank that saves money merchants give her each day or week and she collects and puts in bank and repays them whenever they call for it. Her charge is what they would pay in 1 day per month. So if they pay 200 cfa per day, she charges 200 cfa per month. I went with Ana on her daily collection in the market and she carefully noted all the transactions. Not yet 14 years old, she has been doing this for about a year and a half. Noelie has no competitors in town as no one can match the confidence the people have in her.
Stay tuned for more updates!