On the road this week in Burkina-Faso

Martin E., program manager for some of our African projects, writes:
“We left in the early morning dark on Sunday to visit the Puguli project in Burkina-Faso. It was a three-and-a-half hour drive on good tar-sealed roads. We arrived just in time for the service at the local Pentecostal church. The lively worship and dancing provided splendid photo opportunities. Jacques, the Puguli project leader, was the preacher that day. He preached in Puguli with translation into the other local language, Bogorro, I believe.

Another pastor told me that before the Puguli language was used in his church, there were only two Puguli speakers who attended the service. Since he began preaching in Puguli, that number has risen to eight. Most of them are non-Christians, but some have become believers. Just shows the impact of using the mother tongue! At least 13 more languages in Burkina-Faso still need translation and literacy.

After a rest, we leave this afternoon for the Koromfe project, near the Mali border. Since it is a longer drive (5+ hours) we will overnight in Ouahigouya. I will be curious how dry it will be. Here in Ouagadougou there has been good rain, but when we flew over Southern Mali, it still looked bone-dry.

(later) . . . We made good way and arrived on the outskirts of Djibo, about 40 km from our destination. Suddenly the road was blocked at a bridge by an angry crowd. They seemed well organised—printed banners, food supplies and even bottled water—obviously not a spontaneous protest! Apparently an effort to get the President to fund the long-promised tarring of the road. We tried to find a detour through the bush, but were cut off by a mob of very angry young men. No choice but to return to the long line of traffic waiting along the road. After many phone calls, we were able to arrange for the Koromfe translators to walk across the barrier to meet us. Four hours later, they joined us and we were on our way back to the capital. It was a shame we could not visit the actual Koromfe location, since the whole revision and translation committee was assembled in Béléhédé to meet us! It would have been good to see the local realities in this project, in an over 90 per cent Muslim group. But, this is a typical trip in Africa, where you just have to be flexible!”