From an alphabetization programme for women in Banfora, southwestern Burkina Faso. This photo is from 1982, when the country was still known as Upper Volta (Haute Volta). I spent a month there (and a total of four months in West Africa) doing freelance stories. This project was assisted by the UNESCO and its purpose was not just to teach women to read and write, but also to teach them about hygiene, health, nourishment etc.
So what about the Guinea worm refered to in the title? According to what I was told, the sentence on the blackboard, "segelen ye banajugu ye", means "Guinea worm is a dangerous disease" in the local language Dioula.
The Guinea worm is a parasite that enters the human body when a person drinks stagnant water containing the larvae of the worm. Through many years of education, resulting in changed behaviour, the Guinea worm disease is nearly eradicated and is today endemic in just four African countries, according to Wikipedia. Among those is not Burkina Faso, thanks to lessons like the one I witnessed 28 years ago.
Dioula is a language spoken in parts of Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire). It belongs to the group of Mande languages which are included in the large famliy of Niger-Congo languages (also according to Wikipedia)
This photo is an original b&w, scanned from an Ilford FP4 negative. In a workshop I will show a wider view of the group of women.
Critiques | Translate
BennyV (13566) 2010-03-24 6:19
A timeless shot, Gert, and another great share here. The title intrigues and then it's great to see that the note lives up to it, of course. Top scan quality and a well balanced composition.
This would be a terrific shot for Teacher's Day!
orme (7215) 2010-03-24 7:17
This is a very meaningful shot and a great addition to TE. The woman is learning, for her future, and for the future of her children - one of whom is holding onto "mummy's legs" for dear life. A wonderful capture.
jasmis (57824) 2010-03-24 12:01
Fine document from a deep drawer. Superb B&W tones. Amazing poses of your models.
Regards my dear friend.
saxo042 (37220) 2010-03-24 14:08
En mycket bra bild men mycket till förslag etc hinner jag inte göra. Jag skriver på svenska för att försvåra för censuren...
patdeph (35748) 2010-03-24 14:13
what an intesting and tenderizing image,nothing more to say,I like very much!
boa (5939) 2010-03-24 15:02
i guess you must have an interesting work, experienced so much during your journeys. I like this shot, it gives a good and interesting insight in the daily life from Burkina Faso. Maybe some more space in top and bottom of the picture would be better, but that is minor details. The important is this scene, from one of the worlds poorest countries.
worldcitizen (6717) 2010-03-24 15:05
I really like the historical photo. We can get an idea about education in Burkina Faso, and the small children standing by make the scene even more charming. B/W was a very good choice, and your note is also very informative.
fanni (14377) 2010-03-24 15:35
I think that both photos are very interesting in their own ways! they may seem to be about the same subject but show different things, especially the WS photo which has more interesting details (like a child lying alone while the adults are studying).
I always enjoy the photos which you show because they always tell a story!
I hope you enjoyed the sunny day today ;-)
polpo56 (15134) 2010-03-24 15:43
a very symbolic picture, a document that shows a reality totally different from ours. Great picture.
emka (76305) 2010-03-24 15:46
hi Gert, very beutiful shot and very interesting story! I hvve already read about this desease, called dracuculiasis. It is terrible - it can be a worm one meter long in the legs and it wants get out through the skin. After some such stories I am afraid of going to Africa.
Ricx (13495) 2010-03-25 2:36
Hi Gert, This is a great TE photo presented in B&W. I certainly feels that it represents BF very well. Outside school rooms.. Its amazing how we live in different cultures. Have a great day Ricx
PS Great Note
bukitgolfb301 (35222) 2010-03-25 3:38
Hello my dear Gert
The supper shot!!
Sharp/clear/deep description in the detail as usual.
Thick B&W color is marlvelous too.
Well considered stable framework!
You did a great job again indeed!
Thanks for sharing and have a good day!
Gerrit (46820) 2010-03-26 14:29
wonderful photo of this woman showing her concentration on the writing despite her child that wants her attention.
mafegan (8624) 2010-03-26 14:38
What an amazing life you have led and continue to lead. Your accompanying notes tell a positive story with the Guinea worm almost eradicated. The detail of the writer, the observer, the hanger-on and the uninterested make this a great B&W photo. Tfs, Marlene
agjika (3616) 2010-03-27 3:03
This is a classical one, it reminds me of images I have seen in school books, magazines, newspapers etc.. It's so human and so African. I love the way the children are naturally acting.
Thanks for sharing
Vasa (16746) 2010-03-27 9:17
The document is precious. As your latest picture, dear friend Gert. The colors should be welcome, why not. Friendly
daddo (23583) 2010-03-28 3:24
Somehow I get the impression that the salvation of our species is in the hands of the women.They rear the children, look after home and probably the vegetable garden and have an eye set to the future. The men are probably preening themselves or talking about war. now that i got that off my chest, i do like the candid quality of this shot. regards. Klaudio.
BluSimo (9392) 2010-03-28 10:37
If yours photo had hit to me, yours notes to the photo have still hit to me more. Your photography picks their concentrated expressions, black and white is that one of a great reportage. Of the women Africans I only add that I have admiration for theirs absent privileges and their immense hard work. Thanks for this photo Gert.
wolf38 (31258) 2010-03-29 7:40
Hi Gert. Again, a photo with journalistic quality. Excellent text. Overall, a picture quality far above average. Regards, Wolfgang.
clio (27955) 2010-04-08 10:24
It is not easy to learn to read and to write with a baby in your legs!
It is the photo which I like very much because before teaching the children, I made adult literacy in France during 15 years. It remember moments of wonderful exchange that learnt a lot to me with very motivated pupils.
Very beautiful image in spite of the scan. I like the professor and the pupil's concentration.
Have a nice evening
gakgo (52) 2010-06-16 0:43
Your B&W photos will keep a history.
This one is in my favorites cause of know that therm.
ourania (29345) 2014-08-16 3:09
this scene is so simple and so marvellous, you captured it with great timing and brought out the essence of that process of teaching and learning. The teacher realizes how difficult the task is for her pupil, who is concentrated on the challenge without neglecting her baby. I also like the little girl's presence at the side, contrary to what we are used to, here the children are waiting for their mothers to finish the lesson and go home. It's touching and inspiring. The workshop scene is great too, the monochrome rendering is superb in both pictures. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely weekend,