The Asaco: 1/11/09
One of the first assignments in journalism school was to cover the Boulder City Council meetings. Those meetings were full of Boulderites wanting the council to pass a resolution against the Iraq war, impeach President Bush and decide just how many newspaper boxes could be allowed on any given corner in the town.
Today I was brought back to those heady days when we spent a couple hours with the Asaco, the community organization in the Sikoro neighborhood of Bamako where the Hope Clinic is. We met them in a small conference room at the clinic. There were about 25 people crammed into the room. The men were dressed in relatively normal attire – even by U.S standards. The dugutigi, Karamako, and a couple others had on exciting African clothing. The women were decked out in very interesting patterns and fabrics.
There were several things on the agenda. One was the mural. Eduardo spoke a few words and a few people had some ideas and concerns about the mural. Everyone is very excited about the mural and thinks it will be a great benefit to the community.
One of the most interesting moments of the meeting was when Annie DeGroot, founder of GAIA VF, had to explain the current economic situation in the U.S. to the group. She discussed this with them in October so it wasn’t a shock, but the clinic will have to cut its budget because donations from Americans have dropped.
We also met the Hope Clinic director Karamoko’s wife this evening. Her name is Mimi and she is a banker. She said the economic crisis has yet to effect her work, but she suspects it will be coming.
The street outside the clinic is always full of children who want to see the Toubabs (pale skin people) and check out the camera. It’s going to be quite a scene when Teresa and Eduardo start painting and I start filming out there every day.
Here are some photos.