Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I just read an article in the paper about a Burkinabè woman that was arrested for trafficking in babies. She claimed to be the president of an organization in Burkina that looked after helping babies, orphans, and street children. What she actually did was arrange for pregnant women nearly at term to travel to Chad, then to Libya, and then to Italy where they gave birth and then gave up their babies for adoption with European couples looking for children. Both she and the mothers would receive a percentage of the money received from the adoption price.

While I can’t agree to trafficking in children, I must admit that I’m amazed at the ingenuity and resourcefulness of this woman! I’d like to see more people like this here in Burkina! All too often, people in need here just want handouts. No one ever asks what they can do for me in return for some money. No one ever comes up with some creative idea to earn a living. If they do have an idea to do something, it’s the same as what hundreds of other people are already doing, and in exactly the same area. How do they expect to make any money in a saturated market like that?

Just the other day, our replacement guard asked for a loan to open a battery-charging business in an outlying area of the city where there is yet no electrical power. He used to have this kind of business where he currently lives, but electricity has since arrived in that sector, and no one there needs him to charge their batteries anymore. So he’s planning to move further afield.

The only problem is that there are already dozens of other people operating battery-charging businesses in that area. In competition with them, he’ll earn peanuts... if that.

True, part of the problem for not having creative ideas for earning a living is lack of exposure to new ideas. Many of these people can’t read or write very well, if at all, so their ability to read magazines and newspapers is limited.

Nevertheless, in one sense, I think it would be a shame for this woman to go to prison. Someone with that kind of resourcefulness should be working for the government!

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