In 2007, a team of 6 people went to Diaguilly, a village of 20 000 people, located in Mauritania, along the Senegal River. One of the volunteers had some relatives in the village. Some projects have been achieved, including planting trees, which is paramount, given the desert encroachment in the area.
These matters have been taken up with the pupils from the village’s schools (circa 2500). Food hygiene was another topic, stressing the problems caused by a large consumption of sugar.
Tooth brushes and toothpaste have been handed out to the 1st and 2d grade pupils.
The heads of the two primary schools were given school material (rules, compasses, pens, note books, set squares, protractors, chalk…).
A basketball ground has been repaired and the village’s dressmakers have made numbers.
The team’s nurse gave the health centre some medical material supplied by the Hospital in Carcassonne.
Afterwards, some operations have included planting of more trees, construction of school benches for the madrasa (Koran school) in Diaguilly, financing of a watering system for the trees
A team of GHA came back In January 2010
The local correspondent’s efforts to keep the projects working have been successful.
Meeting with the dignitaries and the mayoress of the village to decide the most urgent action to engage.
In the centre of the village there is a “goumba”, a huge hole dug since the 12th century through excavation of clay by the village people, who used it to build their houses. In 2010 the village has grown bigger and the hole is now 70 x 40 m and about 6 to 7 m deep. That place has long been the village’s rubbish dump
During the rainy season, the hole is filled up with water. Under the action of the sun, the rain, the humidity, the litters and the mosquitoes, the place becomes a mere nutrient broth and boosts the proliferation of bacteria and germs which in turn are spread by the mosquitoes.
It has been decided to clean the Goumba from its litters. Thirty people have been hired to clean the place up with help of rakes and shovels.
Everything has been transported with a donkey, a cart and a truck to a rubbish dump located several kilometres from the village.
Thereafter, a fence has been raised around the goumba to prevent that the village people would keep dumping their garbage in the hole by habit. To solve the problem, a system of garbage collection has been established. Containers in groups of three have been put around the whole village: one for the metal, one for the plastic and one for the organic waste. Two employees of the village are collecting the garbage every day with two donkeys and a cart. A project is being studied to collect the batteries. Because the children might play with these batteries and they have no idea of the danger caused by the heavy metals they contain. The idea is to put a little container in the shops that are selling batteries, to collect the used batteries and to keep them in a safe place in the village, before they can be recycled.
The male nurse in charge of the community clinic has got medical material
The schools got note books and pens for every pupil.
Awareness about hygiene has been heightened for every class and the pupils were informed about the measures taken for the goumba. Another topic was about plantations.
We started a project with the school teachers. The organization pays for a protection for one tree (iron bars surrounded with wire fencing); the pupil commits to taking care of this tree and making sure it’s growing properly.