Mali

When you are in difficulty, to find someone to help you is a joy

August 17, 2012
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
Sara Doua, a widow at a food distribution organized by Caritas Mali

In the early morning Malian sun, members of Caritas Mali are getting organized for the first food distribution to take place in the Diocese of Sikasso. They are setting up rows of chairs, scales to measure out the beans, maize and oil that will be distributed to 93 households in the region and even some speakers to play music. Already, people are beginning to arrive with their carts pulled by donkeys, parking them one next to the other. Even the mayor has come to help launch the distribution.

When there are no seeds left to plant

August 15, 2012
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
Farmer working in a rice field in Mali

The Sikasso region in the South of Mali is dominated by the wide berth of the Niger River, making it favourable for the cultivation of rice. After a few days of rain here, the river is full and ready to irrigate the rectangular rice paddies nestled at its banks. But for rice to grow, there need to be seeds to plant. And this year, many farmers simply don’t have any because as a last resort to stave off hunger, they went through their reserves.

When the market is too expensive

August 13, 2012
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
Karya Sagare and her son at a subsidized food sale

Karya Sagare’s granddaughter is sticking close to the skirt of her grandmother. Despite the heat, she is wearing a sweater with a hood that covers her head. Her eyes are listless as she quietly follows her grandmother through a church courtyard Karya explains that her granddaughter is not feeling well. She brought her to the doctor once, but can’t afford to bring her again. The trip to the doctor also ate into what little money Karya had put aside to purchase food for her family, which includes four children and two grandchildren.

A crisis during a crisis

August 8, 2012
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer

Last year, when the rains didn’t come for the harvest in Mali, it could already be foretold that a potential food crisis was on the horizon. What was less predictable, however, was that the country was on the brink of a political crisis.

2012, the year of all dangers in Mali

July 4, 2012
by 
Guy Des Aulniers, Program Officer for Emergency Relief
Refugees from Northern Mali find shelter in neighbouring Niger

You might have read lately about the destruction of 7 of the 16 sacred mausoleums in Timbuktu in Mali by the islamist group Ansar Dine who is controlling the city since April 1st, 2012.

We received last week an analysis from Théodore Togo, General Secretary of Caritas Mali (which we support in the actual food crisis), who presents 2012 as the year of all dangers in Mali.

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Back in Montreal

May 7, 2012
by 
Guy Des Aulniers, Program Officer for Emergency Relief

I am writing my last blog post from home in Montreal. With the airport in Bamako closed, I was driven by our friends at Caritas Mali to neighbouring Burkina Faso (14 hours) so that I could fly back to Montreal from Ougadougou.

Agitation in Bamako

May 1, 2012
by 
Guy Des Aulniers, Program Officer for Emergency Relief

Monday 4 p.m. and the first shots are heard. In these circumstances, we always ask ourselves if this noise is simply a car engine exploding. But after the 10th detonation in 15 minutes, we no longer ask ourselves this question. For a moment, there is a lull, but the shots begin again around 7 p.m. I was at a restaurant with Gaston Goro, Emergencies Coordinator with Caritas Mali. We were meant to go pick up Ary from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB), who was arriving that night, but his flight was delayed by a sand storm that hit Bamako.

A Sunday in Bamako

April 30, 2012
by 
Guy Des Aulniers, Program Officer for Emergency Relief

I spent my first day in Bamako with Gaston Goro, the Emergencies Coordinator at Caritas Mali, and Mamadou Diakité, an accountant with the organization. Caritas Mali was the first Caritas in the region to launch an appeal for aid to go towards the current food crisis here, but the response of the Caritas network – and the international community  -  has been slow.

Returning to the source

April 26, 2012
by 
Guy Des Aulniers, Program Officer for Emergency Relief

It seems like just yesterday that I was 20 years old and a law student at the University of Laval in Québec. I had just been selected by Canadian Crossroads International to go to Africa – Mali to be precise. I was leaving North America for the first time. In fact, it was the first time that I was travelling by plane! Was I excited? I can still remember singing with the nuns next to me on the Alitalia flight! They were on their way to visit Rome, which for me was just stopover on my way to Bamako.

Situation worsening in Mali and West Africa

April 5, 2012
by 
by Guy Des Aulniers, Emergency Programs Officer

Since this past January, over 200,000 people have fled their homes in Mali, mainly due to rebel offenses in the north of the country. Of this number, 107,000 have taken refuge in other parts of the country, while the rest have fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Algeria.

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