May 2014 Report
The Mali Assistance Project (MAP) and the villagers of Foutaka Zambougou extend our deepest and most sincere appreciation for your support, willingness to give to and care for others, and commitment to our global family, that has been provided by the contributions from many people around the world. Villagers who greatly needed our help are overjoyed at the sustainable assistance we have given them since 1999. MAP has truly made a huge difference in the lives of these hard-working people who are the family of Abdoul Doumbia, Master Drummer, from Zambougou, Mali, West Africa. Abdoul now lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and family. Our most essential goals have been met.
Supporting the local economy, MAP has purchased, in Mali, and delivered 105,000 pounds of millet, rice, beans, and peanuts, primarily to the villagers of Zambougou, and also to a village called Tigi, and to more than a dozen families in Bamako, feeding more than 2500 people during unfortunate times of famine, since 1999. Private donations have totaled more than $111,000 to MAP, plus more than $200,000 in professional services donated.
The water supply for the village, for drinking, bathing, cooking, and watering animals, had primarily been from 40-foot deep hand-dug wells, with contaminated and insect-infested water. These hand-dug wells, dug 50 to 80 years ago, ran dry in February 2003, for the first time in history, due to drought conditions. In May 2003, MAP, with the assistance of Oumar Toure, Director of Water and Energy for the Segou region of Mali, drilled two new 300-foot deep wells, with ample clear, clean, fresh water, and provided hand pumps and concrete slabs around the wells. The two new wells are the only reliable source of water, during the eight-month dry season, for the entire village and surrounding villages. The hand-dug wells are viable for about five months out of each year during the rainy season.
MAP has provided resources to support the school. We have paid salaries for the teachers; funded school supplies, blackboards, new tables and benches; and provided funds for textbooks and teaching materials. MAP recruited a Peace Crops volunteer to live in the village for two years and provided funds for materials to build a Peace Corps house for her to live. In 2005, our PCV was instrumental in the construction of a maternity / health clinic in Zambougou with a full-time mid-wife, whose salary is paid by the Malian government
MAP has focused on creating "appropriate technology" and "sustainable designs" for catching rainwater during the 4-month rainy season of June to September. We provided funds for the purchase of plastic cisterns for rain catching and irrigation. With stored rainwater, the village can irrigate vegetable gardens during the dry season of October through May. And, with rented earth diggers, a large fenced pond was created that holds water for irrigation of the large community garden, providing vegetables and even fish to the entire village. MAP and Rotary Clubs funded this project, and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) provided a consulting professional engineer.
The old "traditional mud-brick" school built 35 years ago is now collapsing. In late 2008, MAP provided the funding toward the materials (cement, sand, rebar, etc.) for the villagers to make their own concrete bricks to build their new school, which would last a century, or more. The foundation was poured and the walls were built to the height of the roof at that time. The villagers of Zambougou are providing all of the labor. Abdoul's brother-in-law in Mali, Seydou Kante, is a professional engineer who volunteered to design the school and create a materials list with estimated costs. These funds were insufficient to finish building the school. More money was required to buy the essential supplies and to purchase windows, doors, and the metal roofing; to build more walls; and to finish the outside and inside with a stucco type of treatment and paint. Since 2008, with the heavy rains and intense wind during the rainy season, some of the construction was damaged. Additional funds have been raised since then, little by little, and held in our bank account. MAP recently wired these funds to complete the construction. To date, March of 2014, MAP has provided $44,700 for the school, which will be complete this month - !! I am so thrilled and excited to have this huge project come to fruition.
We all know the importance of education here in the US. A basic education and a high literacy rate are mandatory for any group of people to govern themselves in this highly complex world and to compete in economic markets. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. The peaceful population in Mali is vulnerable to outside influence. It is imperative for them to have education to be able to make proper decisions for their community; to be literate; for the people to be capable of communicating with their own government; to stand up for their rights; for young people to learn to create their own business or to learn the best agricultural model for their area; or to have options for a good occupation to raise and support a family.
The Mali Assistance Project has experienced cooperation and sharing of ideas and expertise, to bring benefit to Zambougou and ultimately to Mali. All of the designs and plans have incorporated the beliefs, needs, and desires of the villagers themselves. We have involved the Mali government, to the degree to which they have an interest.
After 15 years of helping the village of Zambougou create sustainability, and with the completion of this large school, a HUGE project, the Mali Assistance Project will begin to phase out. Before that happens, we have one more task, which is to provide desks and chairs for 3 new teachers, and also 75 "industrial-strength" tables and benches for 150 new students. Children will attend this new school in Zambougou from surrounding villages. Another $8500 must be raised to make our contribution to the village complete. We need your help one more time. Please make a check out to "The Mali Assistance Project" and mail it to MAP, Box 221, 3601 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303. Thank you.
A prophecy was made about 100 years ago by Abdoul Doumbia' s great great grandmother. She prophesized that a metamorphosis would take place in her village of Zambougou. I was informed of this prophecy the last time I was in Zambougou by Abdoul's uncle, Bwa Alu, a Marabou (Shaman) of high esteem, who summoned me to his home to share this message. The prophecy was that one of her grandchildren would become a master drummer and would travel to the US. He would be known throughout the country and in Europe and Mali. He would one day bring to the village a "white woman" from the United States. This woman would then completely alter the course of history for the village of Zambougou, and would bring prosperity, health, education, and transformation. All I can say is that being part of a greater unfolding story has been extraordinary.
Thank you to everyone who has assisted in any way: with financial contributions, with encouragement and support, with prayers and good wishes. All of it has created this incredible transformation.
Karen Marx, Founder & Executive Director of MAP
Board of Directors of Witness, Inc.
Abdoul Doumbia, Co-Founder of MAP