YovoTogo Diary 2018 (Episode 3)

Friday October 19.

Today the Saint Louis Orione Center in Bombouaka is hosting two supervisors coming from Italy, the fathers Fernando Fornerod and Laureano Red Mérino, together with father Jean Baptiste Dzankani, who is the Director of the Ivory Coast Province of Our Lady in Africa. During a private meeting, we had the opportunity to present our association, its past, presents and future actions within the Center, and more broadly in the Savannah Region, in the educational domain, by giving access to the New Information and Communication Technology (NICT), thanks to the realization of 13 computer rooms, each equiped wih 20 machines, in the surrounding high schools.

We explained our vision to bring here new technologies, mainly in cooperation with JUMP Lab’Orione and HP&O, to fit the most disadvantaged disabled persons with 3D printed prosthesis produced locally. This project, praised by these eminent persons, will be documented and presented to the Provincial in order to set up a cooperation involving the Center orthopedic workshop.


In the afternoon we supply bags, acting as school satchel, to the youngest children. These bags come from a gathering organized by Isabelle and Monique, the reminder being inside the container (sent by our partner GAIA) which should arrive by the end of this month. Then the teenagers of the “Father Sébastien” lounge tried playing table tennis with the few equipments lent for the week-end before the official handover of 250 balls, 30 rackets, together with some nets, score boards etc. donated by the retirees sport association of the French city La Roche-sur-Yon.

Saturday October 20.

Two days of immersion in Moba land. We are awaited in the Nok village, located on the mountain overlooking the Nano valley, in order to formalize our action which aims at supporting 60 vulnerable children, deprived of school because the parents or guardians are unable to pay the school yearly fees which amount to 2,000 FCFA (3 Euros) for the elementary school and 10,000 FCFA (15 Euros) for the high school.

Dominique and Monoque, both members of the YovoTogo association, had taken the initiative of launching a fund-raising campaign within their friends and family circles, to help the scholars of the TandjouaréDapaong region in Togo, making this action possible.

The Nok village is extremely isolated in the heights of the Nano valley, and the locals survive thanks to agriculture and subsistence farming. Mikabini KOULBEME, a young villager who wants to help around, and Arsène TINDAME of the Tandjouaré-Dapaong Rotary Club, identified 60 children, at their own requests, who were then able to participate to the 2018 school year start. This consensual list was made with the involvement of the traditional village chiefs. To preserve the parents engagement, YovoTogo finances the 2/3rd of the amount needed, and leaves to them the responsibility of the reminding third.

The reminder of the money allowed us to by locally textbook and school materials for the voluntary teachers,to help them with their difficult task.

They are village volunteers, who rebuild each year the straw huts serving as class room for the public primary school and the general education high school, which is a purely local initiative of Nok.

After a very moving ceremony, we shared our diner with the village chiefs and the people in charge of the educational system, before retiring in the “soulaka” (traditional dwelling in Moba land) that Mikabini made available to us for the night.

Sunday October 21.

After a night “at the end of the world” in our soulaka, those who wished take a little walk to watch the sunrise above the savanna : It is beautiful indeed, but less than the sunset yesterday evening.

Then we visit the Nok caves, which were used as dwellings during the tribal wars, and to escape from a sad fate during the slavery time. These troglodyte housings look something like the French Eyzies. Our guide offered us to follow him to climb the cliff with the help of the trees, but no one took the risk.

At the end of the morning, we descend toward Nano where Arsène is expecting us, and we share our lunch with one member of the Kara Rotary Club, and some of the Education Officers from the Kpanzinde and Landa high schools. Next month, we will install withing these two structures a computer room with 20 machines refurbished with the Emmabuntüs operating system, including an environment of free and educational system, as well as a integrated Wikipedia snapshot. To combine the useful and the enjoyable, we exchange information about the setup of these rooms, and above all, the implementation of safeguards to turn this action into a long_term project, like it is in most of the 13 computer rooms already in use as of today.

 Then we drive back to Bombouaka to welcome Jean-Marie who arrived yesterday, coming from Lomé, and cross the country on a bus to meet us.

Monday October 22.

This is with a delay of few days that I join the YovoTogo team at the Don Orione Centre, and after a long journey across the wonderful Togo landscapes … The very next day I meet with apprentice team of the welding workshop, and Maxime the responsible with whom we prepared the “remote artistic project”. We are happy to meet each others, and everybody is listening with great interest the development of the work : thinking about how to assemble parts to represent a villager riding his bike … with some recycled parts of scrap metal. At the beginning it seems rather difficult to undertake. But it is about putting aside the strict rules they have to follow on a daily basis and rather “let go” the creativity for this kind of work. As the sculpture work progresses, the young welders get excited and create a group dynamic. They look for parts, they cut, they solder and our character grows up and comes alive …

Maxime is now thinking about how to include a creativity module at some points of the workshop time schedule, because it allows the apprentices to express themselves as individuals, and to feel rewarded through their own creations …

The work will continue during my stay at the Center and we will discover and learn together more techniques and methodologies about the construction and assembly of artworks, so that everyone could adorn his daily life, enrich himself with new experiances, and find his own identity.


 The disabled children and teens gather after the meal for a presentation about oral and dental hygiene. A slide show has been prepared upstream in France in order to have a visual support for this presentation. Isabelle and Sister Odette are attending the meeting to support and enrich the speech. A small reminder about the proper hand hygiene is given upfront. Every one seems to be receptive and a lot of questions raise at the end of the presentation and Sister Odette rephrases in the Moba language. The children seem to have internalized the previous years presentations, and we see that some of them have a toothbrush and execute their oral and dental hygiene. However not all the children own a toothbrush and we remind them that a little bit of toothpaste and a finger brushing is much better than no hygiene at all. The stock of toothpaste brought by Isabelle will be handed over teens delegate who will dispatch it the children.

Thursday evening we plan to run a presentation about the AIDS issue for the teenagers of the Center.

Thanks to Isabelle for her help and support during the presentation.


Extracts from : Voyage de solidarité 2018 de nos amis de YovoTogo

Image Source : YovoTogo