Posted by: Diema Village Ventures | August 26, 2011

The Story of Salihou

A life story from Diema, Mali
Every raindrop from Heaven creates  fountain of hope on Earth

Salihou was born around 1957 in Autumn time asfar as  his mother remembrs, theydidn’t keep dates and there were no calendars to check, all she could remember was that she was harvesting just before he was born.

In his early years he went to school, he was one of the lucky ones that lived close enough to school.  After school, like all children, he had to fetch water, pound millet for evening meals and go to hunt in any spare time he had, as the family was very poor.  So it was a bonus if he caught a squirrel, rabbit, bird or wild cat, as the family could then eat meat.

It seemed as though every 2 years there was a water shortage and everyone suffered greatly.  In fact, he remembers only too well the time when his father went out to work for other people, to be able to buy sugar, to cook with leaves they had picked, to help them survive the days of drought and no food.  Sometimes it was 15 days without any real food – only leaves cooked with sugar!

Salihou continued to work in the fields and harvest the crops, until he passed his school exams and went to work  as a teacher in Bamako. Since then, his family never suffered the great hardships as in the past.

His father died in 1993 and his mother in 1999.  Salihou also had a brother, whom he was very close to, but he also died many years ago. Since that time, he took his small nephew under his wing and took care of him.  In fact he really has saved him from any of the hardships many Malian suffer.  Salihou’s nephew now runs a very good business preparing millet with the machine which was bought by Salihou.

This morning a man arrived at Village Ventures to collect a bicycle.

Salihou told me his story.

“His name is Adou Dougune.  At the age of 12 years I asked him to work for me.  I knew nothing of the boy’s life or background until the mother of the young man arrived to visit me.”

She told Salihou of their story of hardship, the young boys parents divorced when he was only 4 years old and she asked Salihou to take care of him from now on to save him from any further hardship.

Salihou agreed.  Only last year the boy’s father arrived to visit his son after many years and claimed the boy; but Salihou was firm and said that he could only go if his mother consented.  Since then they have heard nothing from him.

Today,  it was wonderful to see the joy on the boy’s face as he chose his own bicycle – and all thanks to a good father figure in Salihou!

Salihou is presently Secretaire General, Counsellors de Cecle and continues to provide inspiration for the people in the town on of Diema, and those travellers who pass through.

Village Ventures is a non Government Association of Diema, Mali, West Africa.  We have been based herefor 10 years.

Diema is the international crossroads oft he country and there are approximately 200,000 in habitants including Bedouins, Fulani, as well as other nomadic tribes, located in and around 148 villages.

Industry and development are vital.

We need your help!

Can you build, teach or sponsor a programme.  Contact us and change your life as well as that of others.  Help families like Salihou’s by volunteering or sponsoring.  Help dig a well? Help clean up the crossroads? Help install solar panels? Donate computers, sewing machines, medicines and bicycles.  Are you willing to share your skills with those less fortunate than we.  Accommodation  5€.  Food is free if you work 6 hours a day.

 To sponsor or contact:

0023 7524 3630

0044 7989 703544

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