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——— 2013_07_31 ——— Prague_Istanbul ———

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19H – Taking off to Istanbul where spending a night I saw and I was told how the situation was. At Wednesday night many people were out and among them dozens of policemen in heavy armor and water cannons ready to be used when group about ten suspicious people gathered… And the smell of gas in the air… Istanbul looks like pretty cosmopolitan city, but certain people don’t want it to be so…

——— 2013_08_01 ——— Istanbul_Niamey_Ouagadougou ———

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16H – Istanbul – After a short sightseeing (The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia as must-sees, old town of European part of Istanbul, new constructions…) getting to Ataturk Airport and waiting for THE flight. At midnight after 90min of stopover in Niamey (Niger) I got off on warm ground of paradise – 30 degrees and 90% humidity. Welcome to Ouagadougou…

24H – Ouagadougou – While going at my friend´s home I could see remains of burnt cars in the streets – manifestations of unhappy students. They were forced to leave from the university campus because there was a threaten of civil disobedience and rioting as the government took new measures (Ouaga university will be opened to students of other nationalities (especially Ivoirians) without increasing capacities) and wanted to establish Senat in the country (to be able to change the Constitution easily…)

——— 2013_08_02 ——— Ouagadougou ———

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In the morning there is not even a single trace of night manifestations. Only few offroad cars with policemen close to the university campus. The life goes on…

10H – The meeting at the U.S. embassy with Meg Riggs – very nice lady responsible for the culture and contact person in the issue of AFCP – Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. The discussion was very useful and the will to cooperate obvious… If you want to know more about the project, please continue here.

Monument of the Martyrs  at the roundabout at Ouaga2000 - at the Boulavard de Kadaffi

12H – While walking back to the city center I have taken the most incredible urbanistic creation in Burkina in photo… There is a new city district build up in 2000. It was planned in commemoration for 50 years anniversary of the country independence and it is called Ouaga 2000. It is place where only the richest people live behind high walls, where u can find the most expensive hotel and American embassy. And this huge roundabout (on the picture) with the monument of the martyrs serving for nothing is symbol of it… The Burkinabe population doesn’t understand and is “proud” of it…

13H – I went to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism where I had a meeting about the mosques in Bani with Mr. Jules Itini in November 2012. In December 2012 we have emailed each other about governmental contribution but then the contact was shut down… Today it was explained why… Mr. Itini lost the access to his mailbox. Even in spite of the fact that all employees of the ministry have official business cards, their mail addresses are hosted at yahoo.fr of hotmail.fr… well more about the project here.

——— 2013_08_04 ——— Ouagadougou_Laongo_Ziniare ———

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First trip out of the capital! What a relief from busy traffic and dusty environment! Heading to Laongo Opera village. Not far away from Ouaga there is a village where Burkinabé architect Francis Diébédo Kéré has designed a complex of a conference hall, accommodation, a primary school and a hospital (centre de santé et de promotion sociale) apart. The site is definitely worth seeing as a unique example of tradition and respect to local conditions engaging the modernity. The site is pretty sophisticated; the technical and aesthetical aspects of design are well worked-out.

It doesn’t try to imitate and copy vernacular architecture but it respects it as well as it respects the environment and climate. It respects the people´s lifestyle – gathering together, socializing and sharing. That’s why it is composed in accordance with the logic of local village – in a circle around the main conference hall. The accommodation complex looks compact, at the first sight a man would say that the units were only duplicated. But it is false, because every single “hut” is different. A different roof shape, a different number of rooms in disposition, a different size of veranda, a different number of openings, a different placing on the terrain (either embedded or raised on pilotis) and a different color of metal parts (not yet painted, but already published in the visualizations – you can see it in photo gallery).

The very interesting conference hall has not started yet; there is only a pit full of water in recent days as it is a rainy season. The visualizations are quite promissing – I hope in having a chance to visit it again in future.

The hospital is placed apart from the Opera Village, even you can’t see it, and you can find it only if you know which direction to take. It is downhill behind trees.

The architecture is completely different form the one of Opera village. It deals with square composition. It is said to be contemporary interpretation of vernacular architecture. Although it is not very common in Burkina, a visitor finds it natural and obvious. The reason why is also a comfort – a number of patios (or atriums if you want to call it so)… It respects the local lifestyle of living outdoor. But the fact of having these outdoor spaces hidden behind the walls brings the privacy and peace – required in hospital. The building manifests itself much more in plan then it does in elevation.

The outer wall is dotted with a number of concrete frames offering various views of outdoor scenery to patients who are sitting, waiting or lying in beds…

It is not only respect to people who u can notice in the hospital. There are many trees preserved. And I would say that the composition of doctors´ offices (dentistry, gynaecology and obstetrics, and a general health unit) and atriums were strongly influenced by their place.

It doesn’t ignore the technological progress either. The electricity and sewage system are matter of course. And water insulation of foundation as well.

Concerning the materials, as you can see from the pictures – load bearing structure of concrete, walls of BTC (bloque en terre comprimée – block of pressed clay; advanced version of mud bricks that are pressed in special machines and if the clay is not good enough it is reinforced with an addition of cement powder). The finishing materials are straw or eucalyptus (especially in a role of roof casting and a suspended ceiling). There is a question of using local stone – granite that is all around. But the processing is difficult, exhausting and expensive…

The material strategy of hospital is a bit different. The volume of the building is not entirely covered with the roof of corrugated metal sheets because of the aesthetic and budget reasons. That’s why outer walls are made of concrete blocks that resist more to the heavy rains while inner walls are made of the BTC.

There is only one thing missing to mention – there is a German NGO Opendorf Afrika (by Christopher Schlingensief) contributing to the financing of both projets…

——— 2013_08_05 ——— Ouagadougou ———

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9H – Despite of the fact that it is a holiday – The 4th August is The Independence Day (and if the holiday is at weekend, it falls on Monday then) I have a meeting with an architect. Mr. Guy Sanou is specialized in local architecture he has already worked for preservation of Bani mosques when he was employed in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Today he runs his own architectural studio (offering architecture, urbanism, supervision, consulting, and infrastructure, and anything…).

He is one of the few architects in Burkina, because there is only one Architecture school in French speaking West Africa. It is in Lomé, capital of Togo. And only three Burkinabé students per year were selected in governmental completion. He seems to be a versatile person. He is willing to have a look on our application to AFCP. Especially the construction principles, time planning and budgeting.

——— 2013_08_06 ——— Ouagadougou ———

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15H – initial meeting with possible private sponsors of the mosque preservation – a mining company that extracts gold in north of Burkina, not far away from Bani. I have visited their mines in 2012, you can see the photos here. I hope in their interest (for them under the terms of public relations…)… Next meeting will be in presence of the mayor of Bani Mr. Aman and hopefully with Mr. Cissé

——— 2013_08_07 ——— Ouagadougou ———

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10H – Meeting at Ministry of Culture and Tourism with Mr. Itini to plan the next Monday meeting with the the people responsible for Tiebele project – the site that was accepted in AFCP  competition in 2012.

16H – Handovering of the ElectroCollection to Nouhoum Cissée, the president of Pamtiral M´Jamu, the association related to the Bani mosques. The collection was organized by Milan Holec and Antonín Jelínek and Michaela Solnická in the Czech Republic. Mr. Cissé will sell second-hand electronics in Burkina and earn money for association projects (local school sponsorship, micro economy projects, local tourism development).

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The collection was pretty successful – about 30kgs – whiteboard colours _ router _ pair of leather shoes _ pair of football shoes _ stockage system _ photoalbum _ 2glasses _ travell bag _ 7books: “les quatre dragons” “la nuit du renard” “le cochon en panne” “james bond 007” “le fond de la bouteille” “la vallée de la peur” “une vie” _ 9discmen _ 9walkmen _ 86original plug-ins _ 19second hand pug-ins_ 4 headphones _ 11mice _ 1notebook _ 1microphone _ 39phone rechargers _ 40cellphones _ 3webcameras _ 3mp3players _ 6cameras _ 4remoted speakers _ 1radio _ 2lamps _ 1radioalarm _ 3rechargers for batteries _ 2socket adaptations _ 2SDcards _ 6USBkeys _ 4original USBkeys _ 3phone batteries _ 3phone covers _ and a lot of other support

——— 2013_08_08 ——— Ouagadougou ———

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Holiday again, this time L’Aïd al-Fitr (عيد الفطر)- which is the end of Ramadan. Nobody works.

23H – Arrival of Slovenian colleague from k A f U L I association (in Bobo- Diulasso) where I will be staying for about 3 weeks to help with the responsible eco-tourism strategies that I started last year (especially workshops with local artists… link in French…)

——— 2013_08_09 ——— Ouagadougou_Bani ———

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6H – Boarding on the “car” (that means an old bus) heading to the Sahel … the destination is Bani. The goal is to speak with elderly, village council and to update the documentation and to clarify the responsibilities.

14H – Arrival to Bani – no running water, no electricity, limited phone signal… A camera, sketch book, pencil, opened eyes and opened mouth… these are the tools

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Certain things are better to be described by images, so, here it is, Bani in 2013. The Grande Mosques was renovated, the roof closed, and the minaret rebuilded into its half-size.

——— 2013_08_10 ——— Bani ———

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14H – Meeting with the mayor HAMA Amadou, the village council and the authorities for the religion and Mr. Nouhoum Cissé. Mr. Hama is very wise man experienced in various issues, and especially great French speaker – the meeting was half French, half Fufulde… The main issues of coöperation and responsibilities have become clear… to get more info, continue here.

Updating of the documentation – taking dimensions on the site.

——— 2013_08_11 ——— Bani_Kaya_Ouagadougou ———

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6H – updating of the documentation after charming sunrise – taking measurements of mosques ruins.

10H – Meeting with Mayor Mr. Hama

11H – Taking off to Kaya, where it is reputed for the local leather workshops – getting inspired about the responsible tourism strategies

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22H – Back home in Ouaga, where first time on a board of a bus of public transportation service Sotraco

——— 2013_08_12 ——— Ouagadougou_Bobo Dioulasso ———

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10H – The meeting with the people responsible for Tiebele project – the site that was accepted in AFCP  competition in 2012. Mr. Barthelemy Kabore cooperates with ENSAG (Architecture School in Grenoble),. He is responsible for patrimony documentation in Direction Generale de la Patrimoine Culturelle and he has worked for Bani for 5 years.

16H – Boarding on the bus to the second biggest city in Burkina, to Bobo-Dioulasso (the relation Ouaga-Bobo is the same as Prague-Brno with all its aspects…;)

23H – arrival to k A f U L i – non-profit, non-governmental and apolitical association that works in three related fields: the trade fair, the responsible eco-tourism and the non-formal education.

——— 2013_08_13 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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Introducing of upcoming activities, project preparations, time-planning and settling down.

——— 2013_08_15 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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National holiday again, this time Christian Assumption plus heavy rains of midAugust that disbales any outdoor activity… doesn´t matter, keeping on reporting and uploading files;)

——— 2013_08_18 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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Day off, finally. Getting back my old bike and going for shopping. The train from Abidjan just arrived. Loads of pineapples, avocados and atieke appeared on the ground in front of the Sitarail railway station building.

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——— 2013_08_19 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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Internet starts working properly, so I would like to share very nice work of CRAterre here – the publication is globally overwhelming and inspiring. In the meantime of preparing Bani project, a new design of a shelter for a big weaving machine of k A f U L i is developing;) Here you can see the courtyard of k A f U L i, where it is supposed to be constructed.

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——— 2013_08_22 ——— Bobo Dioulasso_Ouagadougou ———

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6H – boarding on the bus to Ouaga, even in spite of the fact that the road is bitumen, recent heavy rains make the journey hard… The Bobo-Ouaga trip never stops making me wonder. Why does it take 7h now and 4h then when evrything seems to eb the same. The same transport company, the same kind of driver (a bit nervous one, I suspect them from taking drugs) and the same old noisy bus that seems driving very fast… I can´t estimate the speed. There is a tiny detail in any African car – the speedometer never works. Once in Ghana I asked why (expecting some serious reason related to the customs, traffic codes or security…). It is because it is the first cable that mechanicians cut accidently in the motor and there is no way to fix it

13H – meeting with people from Algerian embassy

16H – meeting with Mr. Cissé  and Mme. Dijken to arrange details of the preservation project proposition, clarifing all the conditions, responsibilities and working techniques

20H – meeting with Mr. Hama, the mayor of Bani, preparations for a meeting with the possible donour

——— 2013_08_23 ——— Ouagadougou ———

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8H30 – meeting with Mr. Hama and the possible donor, presenting of Bani authenticity and the preservation plan. The meeting went along very well in promising ambiance, the following measures were taken and next steps arranged.

10H30 – meeting at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to confirm the positive will of the government to include the Bani project into its futur strategies. Preparation of official documents

On the way to cybercafé to work, I dont stop wonder about architectural jewels of the city…

18H – meeting with a student of the Department of Archeology (the Ouaga Uni was closed on 1st Aug – we have met accidentally, and it would be nice to know more about the Archeology in BF)

——— 2013_08_24 ——— Ouagadougou_Kokologho ———

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8H – getting on the motorbike and taking direction to Naa Yiri Kokologho (you can download entire publication in French about it on the linked website). It is one of the site of specific earthen architecture in Burkina that Mr. Barthelemy Kabore (from General Direction of Cultural Patrimony) recommended to visit to understand the Mossi traditions.

The Chief´s palace in Moaga country is a valuable example of the traditions and opened mind of the local people. The palace has the features of Sudano-Sahelien architecture and colonialism with really modern disposition – 2 floors. The chief Baloum Naaba Tanga got the inspiration when he travelled to Bamako (Mali). In the middle of 20th century the chief got a support from colonising government. The Mossi ethni are settling agriculturers with strong belief in animism, that´s why the royal courtyard is stable and well developped.

The Naa Yiri consists of the courtyards with the palace itself and a compond of small huts for folk and animistic customs as you can see it in attached plan made by CRATerre. The men and women are divided into two courts with seperated entrances. But the chief´s wife lives in the palace with the chief.

The materails are still traditional – the combination of earth (clay), gravels, shearbutter and straw. In recent years, the innovation from northern Ghana has come – addition of bitume (asphalt for streets) that improves the resistance to the heavy rains.

Unfortunately, the chief of Kokologho died in 2011 and the tradition orders to close the palace and  follow all the customs related to the funeral. Usually it takes 3 years. The chief´s wife had to leave the palace and the custum huts had to be empty as well. So, when we have arrived to Kokologho, we have found an abandoned palace. But on the other hand we were lucky because the previous day the wife of the dead chief came from France (where she was visiting her children for 3 months) and she has explained us all the story.

She was the only wife of the chief, because beside the animism, the chief tended to be Catholic. They had lived together in Bobo Dioulasso where they left from because of the “chefferie” of her husband (=leadership). The oldest son (the chief´s successor) lives in France for already 25 years with his Burkinabe wife, he works as a doctor there. It is obvious that accepting the chief´s position would be really difficult for him because he doesn´t understand actual relationships and mentality. Apparently the futur chief is not chosen yet.

The chief´s wife has an association of women who repair the palace. Only the women are allowed to maintain it, they have to do it every year when the palace is habitated by the chief, but recently their work has been simplified with material innovations (the bitumen addition…)

——— 2013_08_25 ——— Ouagadougou_Kara (TOGO) ———

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6H – boarding on the bus direction to Lomé. To get the tickets was not easy, because all trips with “good companies” were already sold out, but in the end I have got “white tickets” with a warning that the bus leaves at 6h exactly!

8H – bus is leaving! Finally direction Togo! To get to the boarders took 4 hours, the migration procedures took 1 hour and 5 more hours were taken to get to Kara, the biggest city of the Northern region of Togo. 10h for less then 500km. The road is in very bad condition. It is damaged by overloaded camions transporting the goods from Lomé harbour to Burkina and Niger.

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Another problem that makes the traffic situation on the Togo S-N axe worse is the dimension (width) fo the road and topography. Many overloaded trucks cannot climb the steep slope and they get stucked there, where they are dangerous for others, specially during the night…

——— 2013_08_26 ——— Kara (TG)_Koutamakou (TG) ———

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7H – getting on the board of a bushtaxi from Kara to Kanté, a small town that is a gate to the Tamberma country, where you can find the Koutammakou. It is a large semi-mountainous region located in north-eastern Togo and which extends into neighbouring Benin. Koutammakou covers approximately 50 000 ha. This living cultural landscape is inhabited by the Batammariba people, whose remarkable earth tower houses, called “takienta” or “tata”, have become a symbol of Togo.

9H – renting the motorbike to get closer to “Tatas” with drunk guide… och

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UNESCO documents say that Koutammakou is an outstanding example of territorial occupation by a people in constant search of harmony between man and the surrounding nature. However, the Koutammakou cultural landscape possesses a particular characteristic. Indeed, the “takienta”, a basic family dwelling where technical, utilitarian and symbolic elements are combined, is unique. Although many dwellings of the region possess fairly strong symbolic dimensions, none possess such a close interrelationship between symbolism, function and technique.  This particular type of dwelling, which owes its aesthetic aspect to the spectacular shapes, is the result of the creative genius of the Batammariba : « those who model the earth » or, by extension, « the good masons » according to the translation of some anthropologists.

I have visited Mr. Le Conservateur ALIZIM Badoualou Karka, who explained me past and futur of the site, their construction and protection technique, strategies of raising awareness of local people. At the same day, I had the chance to visit 5 different Tata houses. The local dwelling is really original and reflects the main features of lifestyle clearly. In the past, even modern history, the Batammariba population. They are really temperament and strong in defending their territory and costums. The form of their houses is fully functionnal, everything is well designed – the shelter for animals and stockage of dry stuff is at the ground floor, middle floor is reserved for the kitchen where you climbed up to the terrace that serves as a shower in lower level and sleeping conical “rooms” in upper level. The towers in raw serve for cereal stockage. The houses possese sophisticated system of communication by “pipes” and holes that serve as well as the opening for arrows…

——— 2013_08_27 ——— Koutamakou (TG)_Ouagadougou (BF) ———

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7H – I have never taken photo of any hotel where I was staying, but this time I got one, so here it is, the Biova Hotel – 2500 CFA per night (100CZK).

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Looking for fast transit back on the border with Burkina Faso before the 3days transit visa expires…

100_5238200km done in 5 hours, the migration procedure is quite fast… at 13h we are in Burkina Faso again. Looking for a lift to Ouagadougo – it is 240km. The road is very bad, so my “inner soly” didnt want to get on the bus with a driver on drogues and prefered the “taxi-brousse” (on the picture). It is slower than the bus, but safer… I had estimated 4 hours maximum to get “home”. We have arrived after 8 hours of travelling. And we have met THE bus that had accident with a car, fortunately it was not mortal accident…

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The essential is to be efficient, and more than efficient… NOW…

——— 2013_08_28 ——— Ouagadougou_Tiébélé ———

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6H – it is not raining, so getting off towards Ghanaian border, where Kassena country is spread. People are reputated for their very animistic costums that are related to their dwellings. The royal court is in the village called Tiebele. This site is already inscripted in Tentative list of World Cultural Heritage and got support from AFCP in 2012. Mr. Kabore from the National Patrimony Direction has recommended to go there and speak with the people about their tourism management.

Except of the fact that in Ouaga, we were tricked by a thief, the visit was delightful. It is the first African touristic place where people (and especially children) dont shout “gift, gift, money, money”. The tourism is well organised. A man can say that the entrance fee is higher, but well divided to the population (or we can have an impression of fair division…). Probably even the awareness raising is well organised because all the people are polite and then the tourists are willing to support local projects with extramoney…

And what is the site about? Mud houses of different plans in accordance with the function (round one for singles, rectangle bigger ones for families and grandmothers, 8-form for young families and initiations) that are painted with tradition colours every year. Each house has its own decoration that is repainted by women every year. The population is animistic and that´s why many symbols on the walls should protect the people from the evil and misfortune. Some of them are related with daily routine (especially with cooking and ceremonies of initiations…).

The houses have also defending feautures as the houses in the Tamberma country in Togo. The main feature is very low entrance that is completed with low wall that protects the indoor space from arrows. At the same time the low entrance makes the enemy to enter with his head firstly… And to be beheaded… Also the high contrast between indoor darkness and sahelien brightness complicates the enemy´s attack.

The global climate change brings complications for traditionnal construction as well. The heavy rains with extreme heat destroy the huts. The women were used to maintain the paintings every single year, but recently they admit that the degradation is more developed. The elderly and in general nobody want to use modern materials and that is why the specialists from CRATerre and Wallonie were invited and partly financed by AFCP and Bukrinabe government.

——— 2013_08_29 ——— Ouagadougou_Bobo Dioulasso ———

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9H – New Burkinabe experience – getting on the train to Bobo. Cool! And the coach looks very comfortable compared to the bus with 120 people on the board… BUT in the end it took almost 9 hours to get to Bobo…

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——— 2013_08_30 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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4H – doesn´t matter where you are… Prague, Moscow or Bobo Dioulasso, you always work late. But the truth is that during the night it is the only period when the internet connection doesn´t drive me crazy…

——— 2013_09_01 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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New look of k A f U L i website is launched. Now we are working on new catalogues (fair trade and art) and flyers to distribute.

——— 2013_09_05 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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14H – meeting with the kAfULi president, Mr. Ganou Seydou, to discuss the new design of the shelter for “grand” weaving machine and the working place for local women. Getting over some particular difficulties and agreeing on making the documentations to proceed it to the construction company to get their price offers.

——— 2013_09_07 ——— Bobo Dioulasso ———

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15H – final meeting with k A f U L i people about the steps to be taken in future months, concerning the funding of the new shelter, catalogue of the responsible tourisme, the design of new flyers, the environmental awareness of local community.

——— 2013_09_08 ——— Bobo Dioulasso_Ouagadougou ———

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11H – k A f U L i  meeting about website administration

12H57 – departure from Bobo Dioulasso for Ouagadougou. The trip was unsually calm becuase of Wedmesday armed assault of one bus. According to Burkinabé news it was not “bandits” like 5 years ago, but organised attack to rob someone´s money. There was a person with 4 000 000 FCFA on the board… Then, now the road is well controlled by police. But it still doesn´t work against crazy truck drivers who are always drunk, there were 3 trucks stucked in the ditch on this 360km long trajet.

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——— 2013_09_09 ——— Ouagadougou_Addis Abeba ———

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8H –  “lobbing” at the Ministry to send the desired document to us 11H – taking off to the East, last tropical rain to say goodbye to Burkina for 3,5 months 100_5403

21H – landing in Ethiopia, what a cold weather!!!

22H – a “loss” of bank card… already:D Brava Michaela!

——— 2013_09_10 ——— Addis Abeba ———

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9H –  meeting at PIN (People in Need) office in Addis Abeba, structuring the time frame and main tasks…

——— 2013_09_11 ——— Addis Abeba ———

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Happy New Year 2006!!!! Ethiopian national holiday… 100_5427

Pilgrimage to Entoto hill above Addis Abeba for the Mass of the New Year – 3 200m of altitude.

——— 2013_09_12 ——— Addis Ababa_Hawassa ———

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9H – chat with macons from Burkina – finalising of the budget for the mosques preservation. Done! The draft is being sent to Washington and Canada to be checked out.

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——— 2013_09_13 ——— Hawassa_Yirgalem_Woininata ———

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9H – meeting with civil engineer responsible for the school construction, Mr. Bereket, introduction to the mission, discussion about new attitudes and innovative approaches, about knowhow transfer, about cooperation with young architects and students of architecture (via competitions and workshops…)

14H – visit of the first site – Woininata school in Yirgalem. The construction started a week ago, the foundation is already done, the formwork for a principal beams and slab are getting ready. The compound itself is composed by old school made by community in traditional way. I find it very coincidental to have this opportunity to compare old and “modern” structure.

The local techniques are pretty well developped and it is only the resistance that poses the problems. The local wood is often attacked by termites and the earth is flown away by water. That´s why the traditional structures require regular maintainance (which is not comfortable for the community who can invest its energy and time into different activities…).

The Ethiopian design of primary school is very basic and unfortunately strict to be implemented. It shall cover all needs of all Ethiopian schools, no individuality is considered. Our goal with Mr. Bereket will be to find compromises between local and global, to combine advantages of both. Whether it is material, technique or aesthetique…

——— 2013_09_14 ——— Hawassa ———

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13H – Ethiopia had 86 ethnies in the past, recently it has had two more – Chinese and Indian… 😀 And one of the proof are ever present rickshaws – also known as threewheelers and in Ethiopia as Bajajs;) So let´s board on one to explore the urbanism and architecture of one of the most beautiful cities in Ethiopia where even Ethiopian couples come for their honeymoon

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——— 2013_09_15 ——— Hawassa ———

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15H – exploration of traditional structures next to modern “skyscrapers”…

——— 2013_09_16 ——— Hawassa_Woininata_Mesincho ———

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9H – (3H of local time – in Ethiopia the day starts (“midnight” is at 6 a.m.), so you have to specify which time you use;);) – logistic meeting … and plans are being changed…

11H – boarding on offroad vehicule with the direction to Woininata, to accompany Mr. Bereket to check the construction progress. We arrived at 12H (6H of local time) and found exactly 30 workers at site. Everybody busy. The construction progressed rapidly, the column reinforcement has been already erected, the grade beam has been pourred with concrete… Personally I am a bit surprised with the level of the professionality and especially with the equipment – vibration pole, level measuring instrument, … Something that i wouldnt expect after seeing the documentation quality…

14H – taking direction to Antate, after one hour of driving and being almost at the site we found out that the road is closed… changing direction Mesincho

16H – arrival to Mesincho, the school that was finished 6 months ago and that will be inaugurrated next week with the beginning of the school year. It was constructed with the help of the Czech Skauts´donation. At the first site it is very nice and decent building. Especially compared to the old school built by community – it is just opposite the new one. Unfortunately the work quality is poor, and there are already few deffects that have to be repaired by the construction company (in a guarantee). The school has glass windows, suspended ceiling, drainage and water system constructed within the WASH programme.

——— 2013_09_17 ——— Hawassa_Alaba ———

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10H – visit of Alaba Experimental school with Mr. Bereket. After 90min drive we have arrived to very nice compound of eight buildings of different colours and use – classes, a laboratory, a library and a pedagogical centre. The principal guided us around and explained all issues. He was proud of having the best results in region. The school is absolutely extraordinery concerning its site planning, individual attitude to pupils, pedagogical methods (teachers were trained by Czech proffessionals once and since that time they upgrade their skills at Ethiopian universities) and equipment (DIY).

There is maximum of 30 students per class, which is exceptional in Ethiopia where 90 children in one room are common. We have arrived one week before the school year starts and that is why we couldn´t see any classes and even the school was kind of “dirty” because the working labour such as “serviceman” and “cleaning lady” is “provided” by children.

As the school is well reputated in the region and many parents want to inscript their children, the school board has decided to enlarge capacity by building another classes and office by themselves. It concerns the traditional construction made of eucalyptus poles as load bearing structure covered by several layers of mixture of earth and straw. The foundation is wooden and masonry, the roof is made of trusses of eucalyptus and sheets of corrugated iron. The construction should be done by the end of this year.

——— 2013_09_18 ——— Hawassa_Bursa ———

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10H – 2,5 hours in car to visit Bursa school (1year old project). Bursa is high in mountains in region where it rains 8 months per year and the roads prove it. Our Hilux couldnt finish last 2km to arrive to Bursa, so we got down to walk. It was so muddy, that after 2 steps I rather took my sandals off and enjoyed nice mud-massage. When we got to school, the elderly insisted on washing my feet – it was the greatest honor for them. I couldn´t impede it.

13H30 – guided tour of the school compound = PIN school, old school, new construction, latrines (old and PIN´s one construcited in WASH programme). I was very pleased by attitude of the community that is pretty encouraged by PIN and raises money to improve their school as possible. They plant flowers, they started their own bamboo forest to grow bamboo for new construction, they weave a new “floor” and decorate the school buildings on their own. The old block consists of specail pedagogical centre where their train pupils in customs and local traditions. The school is very popular in the neighborhood, that´s why they accommodate up to 100 children in one class.

The new building doesn´t have such deffects as the school in Mesincho, the community assisted the construction a lot. The school serves all year and all day round, not only for official education but also for vocational trainings and meetings of the community council.

16h30 – first “city” that we reached and deserved lunch – Wednesdays and Fridays are fasting day – Bayaynetu is obligatory

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——— 2013_09_19 ——— Hawassa_Addis Abeba ———

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9H – leaving Hawassa with the direction to Addis! I dont want to be too judgemental, but Addis is not the most beautiful city that I have ever visited. With all its ongoing constructions it is very dusty. And if you consider the altitude of at least 2400 m where the oxygen is very rarefied, you breathe in only dust… Hopefully it will get better when the railway system is finished and all the roads reestablished… Because Addis has a lot to show, but knows very well how to hide it under this unpleasant first impression…

And some more pix about “modern architecture” in Addis…

Not to be rude I have to say that there are some nice buildings as well. But not numerous…

——— 2013_09_21 ——— Addis Abeba ———

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The Department of Architecture of The Unity University College has organised an exhibition of their students work – models and posters and sketches of different quality. The good design were accentuated by the presence of “non-stunning” ones. It was very interesting to see many of them still drawing in hands (btw. it seems like being printed from distance!)

——— 2013_09_22 ——— Addis Abeba ———

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17H – Initial meeting with a representative from EiABC about eventual cooperation and intensive workshop called “Find it and use it!”

——— 2013_09_23 ——— Addis Abeba_Hawassa ———

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13H – Getting on the car to Hawassa, again 5,5 hours of beautiful nature and loads of architectural examples along the road

Rift Valley

——— 2013_09_24——— Hawassa ———

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You can guess where I am… orthodox church, California-like palm “Piazza”, Sidamian monument, indian Rickshaws… Welcome to Hawassa!

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——— 2013_09_25——— Hawassa_Woininata ———

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9H – I cant believe the progress on the site. Mr. Bereket stayed in Addis, because he became  father – he has got his first babyboy – Congratulations! And I have decided to visit the construction site without any announcement, to see how the construction goes on “in real”. The pictures say more than words..

——— 2013_09_26——— Hawassa ———

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It is the Eve of Meskel – the religious holiday of Orthodox Churches in Ethiopia (Abyssinia). It is celebrated to commemorate the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena in the 4th century. The Ethiopian calendar announces it on 17th Meskerem (27th September in Gregorian calendar).

The Meskel celebration anywhere in Ethiopia is reputated for a large bonfire (called “foreworks” or Demera), because it is believed that Queen Helena had a dream where she was told to make a bonfire whose smoke would show her where the true cross was buried. So she did it with the people form Jerusalem and found the spot where the Cross had been buried. The firewood is decorated with daisies (Meskel flowers). During the “fireworks” young men dance and pick up charcoal from the remains of the fire like a trophey, afterwards they use it to mark their foreheads with the shape of a cross.

——— 2013_09_30——— Hawassa_Woininata ———

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10h – visit of the construction site, supervising, discussing and especially learning new amharic sentence: Chigger yeh-lem. The most useful one: No problem!