In 1996 I joined the energetic, passionate, innocent, well meaning, often naive and unprepared labor force of young ” development workers, volunteers and assistants ” of all nationalities and colors, who hired by international development organisations under the frame-work of bilateral governmental agreements, swarm the third world countries like bees to promote the great Western and Christian ideal ” to help people to help themselves “.
I accepted a position as ” La Coordinatrice du Projet LAG ” a holistic multi-sectoral village development programm in Mali, West Africa, funded by different donors. Little did I know that until 2002 I would work, love and live in Nara, a small village up north situated at the border of Mauretania .
A couple of months after my arrival, my brother joined me and used Nara for a two year stay to complete his field research for his thesis on labor migration in West Africa. The are no words to describe the impression the life stories of thousands of men interviewed, have made on us, who had followed a path of many before them to seek wealth and luck in other countries.
The ” Exode Rurale ” is one of the biggest phenomenon in Africa, the effects of labor migration of African men and women have impacted probably each and every family on the African continent at some time.
Those who venture into unknown territory with great courage to seek work and income that they can not find in their own country, to assist their families who are deprived of so many things in their native land are the true pioneers of our time.
Things have changed in Nara. The face of this small town in the Sahel has changed. Nara, la Sahelienne has changed.
Most of all we have been changed !
After ten years we opened the story box! These stories should have been told long time ago. But life took us elsewhere.
But here are our tales of ” Nara once upon a time “. We invite you to listen to them before they will be buried in the dust of a beautiful desert country forever.