A Chair For All - Part 2

Remembering the past is often as important as planning for the future. From Ba’s time growing up, he has learned that success can often come with a cost. “The proof is in the past” he once told me. Ba remembers when mineral exploration and extraction was a major industry in his area of Senegal. With people solely focusing on mineral wealth, villages are often situated in the middle of a governments plan. “The women are very concerned about success of the AFTS. They remember when the government came to the city all too often.” Fear and corruption are apart of daily life and human rights are easily compromised. People must be cautious to survive. Now that Ba has returned to Canada, he tries to remember the hard life he left behind. Ba hopes that by educating the youth, the region will have a promising future.

One of the key goals of his trip was to build relationships with people who can make a positive difference in the area surrounding Dakateli. Many people told Ba that he must meet a man named Mr. Diallo (pronounced Jaa-low). He is the school supervisor for six small schools surrounding Dakateli. He has the villagers education hopes in his hands.

Diarra (pronounced Jaa-rra), is a very small community outside of Dakateli. When Ba visited with Mr. Diallo in Diarra, he was amazed to see just a small school with bamboo walls. There are forty six kids attending school there, twenty five boys and twenty one girls. “Mr. Diallo wants a proper school here more than anything,” Ba explained to me. He had never seen a place in more need. All the kids sit on the floor and have no supplies at all. Mr. Diallo is hopeful that soon the local government will fix this and build a proper school. But as of June of 2009, there is still no school in Diarra.

The AFTS is simply too small to build a school big enough to house all the kids surrounding Dakateli. All six of the schools Mr. Diallo is responsible for face similar problems. They have trouble getting teachers, they have no supplies and the students who come often go hungry. The dry season is especially tough when the surrounding rivers start to dry up.

Ba was very proud to tell me about what he feels is the AFTS biggest accomplishment. “We said to families that we will purchase twenty five strong tables with benches for the school of Diarra.” These benches and tables would be enough for fifty students to have a place to learn. All the tables and chairs were built in Dakateli and in December 2008 they were trucked out to the school. The excitement in the village was overwhelming for Mr. Diallo. Ba wished he could have been there with him, but he will always remember his time in Diarra and his time with Mr. Diallo.

Ba kindest words were for Mr. Diallo, “Bemba Diallo is a teacher who can change a school, and pioneer a future for Diarra Ndampoutaarta’s village.”

Thank you for reading the second half of Ba’s journey home. The AFTS is committed to helping people who need help the most. Every purchase of our Shea Butter Products goes directly to villages like Dakatelli and Diarra. We thank you for all your support over the years.

Below are some words from Mr. Diallo.

Diarra Ndampouta School
Created on October 2005
The village is 2.5 km from Dakateli
By the center rural community
Like all schools, there is need.
To be built in modern material
To get equipment: tables, good blackboards and desks
Materials: books, writing instruments, plus pencil sharpeners.
The main needs of the peoples are
Clothes, shoes and school bags
Lunch per day for the kids
The village has a very important problem
There is no good water, there is no well, no forage.
The water comes from the river, which does not last forever
And this water represents a danger
The village people need more help to cure
The poverty that hit Diarra Ndampouta
You can remake this poverty when you watch children at school, at home and with food.