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Mali: report 2011

January 2011:   The freezing wind has all the children shivering despite their warm covers.  They are comforted by bananas, biscuits and chocolate. 

Following the reduction in the involvement of the AAG in the URENI (Nutritional Recovery Unit), we note that many mothers are reluctant to leave their children at the hospital without the presence of Sophie.  This seems to be due to a lack of sensitivity on the part of the care workers.  This is an important point that must be covered in future training.

Prices continue to rise and the shortage of gas worries everyone.  The area remains insecure and there is much discussion about the presence of westerners.  Point-Afrique flights to Mopti have been cancelled.

Our construction work is advancing well, the roof is taking shape and the major work will soon be finished.

February 2011 :  Finally the new contract with UNICEF is signed.  We can now restart the programme which has been on standby for 3 months.  The problem with non supply of foodstuffs from the World Food Programme which has also existed for many months is now threatening the lives of the children.

Due to the ever increasing insecurity in the region it is very complicated for Sophie to travel outside of the town.  She will now have to travel with a chauffeur and 2 bodyguards in the Gao region and will have an army escort if she travels further afield.

March 2011  :  The temperature is soaring and reaches 48° some days.  Electricity and water cuts are frequent.

The situation for the nomadic people is once again as it was last year.  We must be prepared for a rise in the number of under nourished children.

The Nutritional Recovery Unit at Boulgoundié has been transferred to the CSRF (Centre de Santé de Référence).  The ideal would be for the Malian Health Services to take over responsibility for all the services we offer but for now, the presence of Sophie remains vital.  The AAG has become a standard of reference in the field of nutrition and its advice is regularly sought all over the region.

While waiting for the new Reception Centre to be completed, the children still gather every Thursday at Sophie’s house.  The Swiss president, on her 2 week visit, meets the new children and catches up with old friends who visit just to say hello.

Our new building has moved on apace and has a roof and 60cm thick walls.  Even on the hottest days it will remain cool inside.  The local materials used are very well adapted to the conditions in this region.  Unlike cement it remains cool in summer and keeps its heat in the winter.

We would like to thank the Nubian Roofing Association (Association la Voûte Nubienne) and their stone masons for their work and help in transferring their expertise to the apprentice masons in Gao.

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AAG - Association d'Aide à Gao - Suisse - Email:aide.gao@yahoo.com