The 15 Families aid program that Ronna and I put together is still in process as of today. It is going well, but I must say that it has been very difficult and emotional to be seen delivering food and money to a few among the many numbers of people that are in need at this time. Sometimes I get watery eyes, other times I feel proud. Although 10 out of the 15 families have already been helped, it has not been easy to find or locate others. People are going far afield to gain the daily bread for their families, so they are gone all day until late at night.
Mariam Doumbia was the very first recipient of the 15 families. After meeting with her, I suddenly realized that our plan ofbuying bags of rice and millet for every family may not be the most urgent for them all. Mariam has high blood pressure, she is diabetic, and has eye problems. The doctor had advised her to rather miss a meal than her daily medicine. So she had preferred to receive a portion in money for her medicine.
Chebba Diarra is someone that most people who have come to Mali through Kofalen have met or know her. She and her husband spent many years welcoming our group in the neighborhood with the sweet sound of the Balafon of the Beledougou region. But her husband could no longer make money to care for them and after 2 of their children died this year, the husband had a mental breakdown and abandoned her and the remainder small 5 kids. So, Chebba fit perfectly for the need of food. We brought her one bag of rice, one bag of millet and the other half in cash to buy groceries and children necessities.
Today, I met Hawa Ballo the blacksmith woman who is a potter. Her story is even more heartbreaking. She lost her only son who is her hope, in the North. I did some interview with her and took a few photos but forgot to ask her permission to use the images. Her story will be in the next edition.
I cannot and will not be able to have pictures and videos of all my recipients, because they feel embarrassed to portray their poor condition to the world, and I respect that as it is.
Yesterday, Moctar Kone–one of the greatest oral historians in Mali at this time, told Jessica and Jon (visiting Ko-Falen) that “all Americans that had the chance to come to this country with Wague are very lucky. Because he has good things to say about Americans, he helps give us Malians peace of mind and makes U.S. look to us as a wonderful place. But we also know he is like that with you. Wague is so proud of Mali that he brings you Americans to meet and know his people, and that is why you come over and over again. But if he was a fool person, we wouldn’t even respect the people that followed him.”
He is very kind to say this.
Love to all,
Baba Wagué Diakité