Maimounata Sawadogo

Maimounata Sawadogo is a 33-year-old woman and mother of 2 children, Zoubeirou Sawadogo (4 years old) and Halimata Saadia (1 year 7 months old). She is married to Abdoulwahab Sawadogo, 56 years old.

Maimouna is originally from Pissila but has lived all her life in Arbinda because her parents have settled there. Unfortunately, she never went to school and sold donuts to help her parents provide for their needs. She comes from a large family of 13 children and her father had 2 wives. She regrets not being in school but she is happy to see the last children of the family go to school.

In Arbinda, Maimouna was a seller of tubers, beans, millet, and cakes for most of the year, and during the rainy season she was farming. She was averaging in gain 10,000F ($ 9) a day.

Credits: RakiĆ©tou Hassane Mossi

One day, their village was attacked. She was shocked because she learned that a lot of villages were attacked but that it happens at home, she still does not believe, especially since they were in event of the funeral of the death of their father. They fled with all the village, leaving the body there. The next day they returned to bury their father and the twelve villagers who perished in the attack. Traumatized by the events, they all decided to settle in Kaya, which is 167 km away from Arbinda. For them, this is the safest place to settle right now, because it is the first military region in Burkina Faso.They had to pay 10.000F ($ 9) per person to come to Kaya by truck. Once in Kaya, an acquaintance helped them find a rental house. The house initially cost 15.000F (12$) per month which they negotiated to 10.000F (9$) per month. Today, they are about to be driven out of the house because they cannot pay the rent. This is the case for almost all the displaced people who have rented houses because in Kaya there are no camps or host sites. This makes the situation more complex because today the city has to pay for everything and its funds are almost exhausted.

Everything becomes more difficult because they have left all behind. "Physical health is fine but we do not eat. We have no water and even if we manage to access the water we will fetch for it with what? Our one bedroom house and living room is saturated because it is 19 of us vliving there. The men sleep outside and we women sleep inside with the children."

Maimounata's husband, Abdulwahab, who was once a baker, is not with them. He went looking for work on gold sites to at least have enough to support the family because he cannot stand this situation anymore. Maimounata is left to herself for the education of their children.

Maimouna complains that she is not able to do any activities and wants to go back to her small business so she does not depend on people and regains her dignity because she cannot bear not being able to pay her rent, nor feed her family. "Sometimes, some mothers are forced to pretend to cook so that the children calm down until they fall asleep."

The town hall made a single distribution of 6kg of food per person from the CONASUR, the government structure in charge of assistance, but the food lasted only a week and from there, nothing. "We are hungry and we do not know how the next few days will go."

Maimounata's wish is to eat, drink, and rebuild her life in Kaya. "I need buckets, cans and a cart to get the water and be able to carry as much as I can to save time. I need to go back to my small business and be able to support myself. I intend to redo my life here because even if peace returned I do not think that I will return there. I still have in mind what happened and I do not think I can forget one day to the point of going home. Our lives will not be the same because everything is lost. Because of the shots, our minds cannot be at peace anymore."

Maimounata wants the whole world to know that the situation in Burkina Faso is getting worse and that they are no longer doing well. She would like peace to come back but for the moment she does not think that returning home is an option. Indeed 1.2 million people are in need. In Kaya, a house of just 300m2 houses 208 people.

CARE has been present in Burkina Faso since November 2018 for the implementation of the EU-funded project PRODIATA through CARE Denmark. This project aims to contribute in the long term to facilitate a calmed transboundary transhumance and to improve the nutrition of the coastal and pastoral populations.

People are in dire need of shelter, food, water and basic needs specially that the rainy season is right around the corner.