Tag Archives: refugees

A week of calm

This past week has been calm and Bamako continues to remain quiet after the drama of a few weeks back. The President continues to remain MIA while the Prime Minister continues to try to assert his presence. He does seem to have a lot of opposition from many bigger political parties. The reason is probably because his cabinet that he has picked does not include any political players from these parties. The North remains heavy on many Malians minds. More and more reports are emerging about the rebel players in the North and there seems to be a uncertainty about how the government will be handling the rebel groups. The government has not displayed a straightforward plan despite the talk of the PM that Mali would not give away the land in the North.

Most expat hang outs remain deserted which confirms the belief that many foreigners have indeed left the country. This will have some serious impacts on the economy as many workers/vendors find themselves without the more well off expats.

On the home front, things are well. The kids continue to get used to the changing weather. It has indeed become very hot and despite the increase in the summer showers, the heat is never far off. Electricity remains as iffy as ever with power shortages frequent and long. Just last week we spent two nights without electricity. Kean is doing wonderful in school and I am so proud of him. To help with the challenge of the language we have hired a tutor to help Keanen and me learn French. I wish I had the brain of a child. I can tell you Keanen is making leaps and bounds in French. He continuously surprises me when he chatters to his friend or teacher in French. I have no idea why the French cannot stick in my head. You would think it would be easier given that I know other languages. But no, it continues to remain foreign to me. The local language Bambara is much easier to pick up and something I can comfortably get by in. Hopefully, the tutor will be able to drill the French in.

Yeah continues to be busy as ever as Mayor, Director and PACP leader. This past week, there was an inauguration ceremony by the Mayor’s office to donate a hearse to the Ouelessebougou cemetery. As black as this sounds, this will allow the transportation of bodies in a dignified manner. Ouelessebougou is fast becoming a modern city already boasting amenities like running water, electricity and its own bus facilities.

The first hearse in Ouelessebougou

The Imam of Ouelessebougou’s mosque thanks the Mayor’s office for this donation

Party activities continue on a weekly basis as well. Despite the political dilemma Mali finds itself in, PACP membership grows. Their main support comes from the youth and also from individuals like Yeah that are foreign educated and have returned home to Mali. Last week, there was a donation of rice to the residents of Ouelessebougou that were going through difficult times.

In addition, Yeah continues to work at his foundation MRF. There are two more schools planned for this year. Mali’s education system is struggling at the secondary and higher levels. These schools provide opportunities in villages where children might otherwise not be able to go to school. Just this past week, MRF was honored at The Week of the Students of Social Work in Bamako on June 7th, 2012. The event was held at the Institut National de Formation des Travailleurs Sociaux ( School of Social Work). The theme of the 8th edition of this event was on the humanitarian accomplishments and the guest of honor was the MRF. Yeah, as director, gave a presentation to introduce these students of social work to the importance of activities of a non profit in the field in Mali and encouraged them to work with organizations like this that impact the grassroots level and have the Government’s support. This event, which got media attention in Mali, highlights MRF’s growing importance in the educational and humanitarian arena as well as its visibility in Mali.

A few students of the School of Social Work

Yeah speaks about MRF ‘s work in Mali

All in all a quiet week and an even quieter weekend. Can’t complain about that can we 🙂

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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Past Posts


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Coup d’état in Mali: What comes next?


This past week has been a testament of how nothing should be taken for granted and how quickly things can change in a blink of an eye. This past week has seen the fall of a stable democracy, the removal of a President, the institution of a military government, pandemonium, a return to calm and restored stability. For me on a personal level, I have witnessed firsthand changes. For one, the goal that we have worked so hard to achieve for the last year has been pushed. April 29th was supposed to be Election Day in Mali, when the voice of the people would be heard. That has now been pushed and there is no date set when the elections will happen. It was comforting to see the outpouring of love we received from the four corners of the globe and we were touched by the kind words of faith and encouragement. So what does these events that crash landed mean for the fate of Mali and that of the Samake2012 campaign?

Mali is at a critical time in its history. While the coup is said and done, now is not the time to go back. For one, to contemplate the scenario, what would be achieved by restoring the power to Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT) that the EU, AU and the US have called for? To give back power to ATT would mean showing support for the irresponsible handling of the Northern war and the way that our troops have been treated. There is no doubt among the Malian people who ATT has handled the security situation in the North poorly. Nothing has been done to stop the atrocities happening in the Northern regions of Tombouctou, Kidal and Gao. In fact these regions have seen an increase in the illegal trafficking – including drugs, weapons, migrants, cigarettes and Western hostages. We could have stopped the remnants of Gaddafi’s army long before lives were lost. However, nothing was done to stop them from crossing our borders and bringing in firepower that has made them extremely hard to defeat. They joined a pre-existing Tuareg protest movement, the National Movement of Azawad (MNA), a group of young activists which denounced the regime’s management of northern Mali allegedly based on its alliances with corrupt local political elites and a racketeering arrangement with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). MNA leaders elaborated the political platform of what would become the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA). To give back power to ATT means to allow this terrible management of a crisis to go on. What do we do about the 175,000+ people who are displaced? What had ATT done to help them or make sure no additional harm came to them? What continues to happen that will help them? “Up to now aid agencies have not had great access to these areas… It’s hard to sell this crisis, it’s quite forgotten,” says Helen Caux, West Africa communications head at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Really? How can we allow an inhumane crisis like this to continue?

We now need to move forward. Do the leaders of the National Committee for the Reestablishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State have a solution? Patriotism and dissolution of a non functioning government only takes you so far. Do they have a way to resolve the issues in the North? How do they propose to restore the government and end corruption? These are questions for the political leaders as military leaders do not have the political know how or training to answer them.  We need to form a unified front of leaders that can appeal to the military leaders and provide them with a proposal on how a government can be instituted temporarily until free and fair elections can be held. In addition, now is not the time for sanctions or aid to be withdrawn. A country whose GDP is so heavily dependent on foreign aid cannot withstand such a hit. And who does it hit most? Not Sanogo sitting comfortably at the top. No, it is the men and women that live below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day. Let’s not make their life even more miserable than it already is. At this point in time, they are not worried about what policy the government passes next, all they see is the immediate harm in terms of feeding themselves and their families.

Mali at this time needs friends and not foes. They need the international community to work with the military leaders currently in power and encourage them to work with political leaders in Mali on how a peaceful transfer of power can be made. There is not a day that goes by where Sanogo does not reaffirm that power will be handed back. It can be seen one of two ways. Either, he is trying to convince the outside world or he is trying to convince himself. Either way, great strides have been made by the military rule to ensure the safety of our Malian brothers and sisters. The Malian way of life has for the most part been restored with the borders reopening and airports functional. In addition government buildings and banks are open. There are security measures in place at the banks which are controlled by the Central Bank of Africa so that huge withdrawals are not made. All in all, calm is restored in the capital. Now, it will be important for political leaders to work together with the military leaders and provide solutions to get out of the current situation with the least casualties.

Now more than ever, the campaign must go on. I could take my family and return to the safety and security of America. However, my heart is compelling me at this moment that my and Yeah’s efforts are needed here in Mali. I have the firm belief that things happen for a reason and they are a test to man as to how we can make the best of what life throws at us. It is at times like these true leaders will emerge that have only one duty and that is to serve our people. We must now focus on the situation at hand and decide what is best for Mali.

Please continue to support our campaign. I know you probably are saying, well why would we support something when we don’t even know when the elections will be. In a way I can understand that. However, this has never been about the goal of winning the elections. This campaign has been about an awakening of the hearts and minds of Mali to a new way of government which actually cares and furthers the wellbeing of their people. I implore you to think of it as not just an election that has been delayed; now we are in the fight to restore democracy. We are in this to bring relief to the 175K+ refugees stuck without recourse.

You know how we all say, well that is history. Well here is your chance to help make history and restore to Mali the stability and the voice of the people who are struggling to be heard.

Make your voice heard today at


Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Past Posts


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