Friday, December 14, 2007

The UNDP human development report is out for 2007-08. And that ever-dependable Burkinabé paper L’Evenement gave it front page space, above the fold, with the headline “Human development: Things haven’t improved in our country”. It was a very short article, very to the point. Burkina has moved down in the classifications and is now second from last place.

Here’s a rough translation of some of the article, which is too good to miss: “The reality is that we are LAST place. We have to say “last”, because the only nation we are ahead of is Sierra Leone, a country that has just suffered through a war. Why has Burkina for so many years continued to wear the dunce’s cap? The answer is to be found in the naval-gazing of our leaders, which makes them incapable of seeing any farther than the ends of their noses. The worst of it is that they don’t even accept this bad performance as a reproach to their governance. According to them, the fault all lies with the PNUD evaluation itself, which gives ‘too much weight to factors that are not representative’. Poor Burkina!”

Once again, the folks over at L’Evenement don’t hestitate to speak out against the absurd, incompetent regime here. Life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy, etc are all not keeping pace with increases everywhere else in the world. Burkina’s people are losing ground daily and the government thinks to distract them with the occasional pathetic parade or speech. Bread and circuses anyone? Hey-the average citizen here would LOVE some food and a good show. But the entertainment on offer is frankly sub-par. The parade on the 11th in honor the National Republic Day was mainly an opportunity for the elites to pat themselves on the back. Certainly none of the modest folks that I work with daily knew anything about the supposedly delightful distraction proposed by their loving government. As for those people working downtown, all it did was prevent them from getting to work on time for several days (there were rehearsals for the parade that shut down the center of town for hours a day). And as for the “bread” part of the equation, that would be much appreciated, as hunger and malnutrition are rife here. But there’s no free lunch. Or even a small free snack.

I'd rather write about my scissors being held hostage and other non-controversial drivel, but sometimes I can't restrain myself.


Anonymous said...

i've said it before and i'll say it again, this is a great blog. please don't stop writing about the occasional "political drivel" of such a dear country in unfortunate dire straits, but please definitely also keep writing "drivel" (which it is not) about ransomed scissors, creche animals, and random house pets, the scissor note being definitely one of the funniest blog topics out there in a long while. the beauty of your blog is that your whole family shines through. i prepare myself for possible withdrawal symptoms when you leave burkina, but hope your blog won't end. may your family and your burkinabe friends all enjoy this christmas season. from a total stranger that is rooting for you guys and definitely for burkina. lu

BurkinaMom said...

Thanks very much for the early Christmas present, lu! It is one of the nicest I ever got!
I will definitely take your comments to heart and keep on blogging/drivelling/ranting !

mark said...

hey. i just found your blog and now you're leaving Burkina? that's not good timing. i'm going there for the first time in a few months and will be making repeated trips there for my PhD that i'm doing in Germany.
i knew things were bad there, but as i just found out that i'll be going i didn't realize they were that bad.
i'll be traveling around the north for most of my stay but will be in Ouagadougou for a number of days at the beginning and end of each visit. are there any places there to find english speakers? i only now started learning french so i won't know much by my first trip.

thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

hmm...i tried to post but it didn't seem to let me. anyway, i'm on my way to burkina in a few months to set up some contacts as i'm doing research there for my PhD. i don't know any french but i have a colleague that i will be meeting up north...assuming i can get there :)
anyway, really cool blog. i'm sad that i just found it just as you're leaving.
i hope you have a wonderful holiday season. it's freezing here in germany and we might have a white christmas :)
if you're up for chatting more. as i'd be very interested in hearing about some of your experiences since i'll be there multiple times for extended periods, i can give you my email address. but i'll check back here and see.