When I first heard of Yeah’s decision to run for President eight years ago, in all seriousness, I thought the man was trying to impress me. I thought he was joking. Why would someone living in the land of opportunity (America), want to lead the land of no opportunity (Mali). I dismissed this statement to the back of my mind, never thinking of it again until Yeah became the executive director of Mali Rising Foundation. Now don’t get me wrong, Yeah has always had a deep passion for Mali and his family. He would at times send money to his family even when he had barely enough to cover his rent and tuition. When he started with Mali Rising Foundation, he focused on the issue very close to his heart and the one issue that Mali is combating very heavily today. The Lack of education. The schools he built with American partners had one goal only and that was to alleviate the obstacles young children faced with not having easy access to a God-given right of literacy. Soon enough, the foundation was facilitating medical services to the people of Mali, something that is done till today. There have been multiple containers containing computers, solar panels, desks, school kits and medical supplies that have benefited the Malian people. Since 2004, Yeah and the Mali Rising Foundation have sought to make the lives of Malians better. This is a role that the government should be fulfilling but has failed miserably at it. In 2009, the dream became more of a reality when Yeah told me he was running for Mayor of Ouelessebougou. At that time, I in my selfishness asked him if he was crazy. Today, I see the changes he has brought to his commune of Ouelessebougou. His commune boasts clean running water, a solar field that provides electricity, the only high school in the region and a new hospital in progress. This has been accomplished in a span of less than 3 years.
The first time I came to Mali in 2006, the poverty and lack of opportunity hit me first. But behind this, one only had to look a bit to see beautiful happy people. I have never met a people who are happier than Malians. However, I have also never seen people poorer than Malians. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Surprising given that they are one of the major exporters of cotton and gold, two commodities that are in high demand in the world. As the current president Amadou Toumani Toure leaves office, he leaves the country in the same state he took it. The only difference is that there are more foreign investments in terms of buildings, airport and roads, that begs the question about what favors were bought. Today, Mali has these facts to bear:
- Infant Mortality: 111 deaths per 1,000 births
- Literacy Rate: 46.4%
- Unemployment: 30%
- Life expectancy: 52 years
- 1 doctor per 20,000 people
This country does not need a savior. They need someone who cares. They need someone who has experienced the pain of malaria and hunger first hand. They need someone who knows the pain of losing a loved one to an inadequate healthcare system. They need someone who knows what it means not to earn a paycheck for months on end. That person is Yeah Samake. There is no professional agenda here. The only goal Yeah has is to help the people he loves so much out of the depth and despair that bad governance has condemned them to.
If we are to remain serious competitors against the leaders that have embezzled money for the last 30 years, then we need to raise $50000 immediately. Our party PACP (Parti pour l’Action Civique et Patriotique) will hold its launch on March 25th 2012. The entire event will be televised in an attempt to educate people about what their options are in terms of good leaders. In 42 days, Malians will go to the polls to elect their next President. It is my hope and prayer that Yeah Samake will become the President of Mali, not for personal gain, but because I believe with all my heart that this country deserves the chance and the hope that Yeah can bring.
Please help us today if you can. The time has come to make that donation you have been thinking about and if you weren’t then maybe thinking about making one. What better way to bring change than to elect a leader whose actions will trickle down? We cannot do this without you. Join us in welcoming a new day in Mali and let April 29th 2012 spell change and success for a struggling nation.
Donate if you can at http://www.samake2012.com
March 17, 2012 at 21:12
What an amazing story of success! What a great man! What a great wife!
March 17, 2012 at 21:27
Marissa, you continue to amaze me. What a beautiful post. He is the change for Mali. Yeah truly does care – I have seen it for myself first hand. Let’s do this – on to victory! We’re right there with you until we reach Koulouba. You’re an inspiration to all of us.