Around fifteen members of migrant associations from Burkina Faso and partners of the Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso project met in Bra on Saturday, July 25, to discuss the Slow Food movement and the 10,000 Gardens in Africa project.
What do they have in common? They all come from the province of Boulgou, in southern Burkina Faso, and, through their associations, want to forge links between their country and Italy. How? Through gardens and sustainable agriculture.
“In Italy, with my association, Mani Solidali, we usually send containers of used clothes, shoes and mattresses to Burkina Faso,” Florent begins. “There are no longer any children without any shoes at village celebrations! With the gardens, though, we’ll give our brothers and sisters knowledge, a way to make the most of local resources and membership of the Slow Food network in Burkina Faso. In this way, everyone will be able to eat cabbage, okra, garlic and tomatoes that they have grown themselves!”
On the issue of food biodiversity, on the other hand, Alexis, a member of the Somefi association, reaffirmed that some foods and knowledge were disappearing: “Our mothers and grandmothers know some incredible plants and recipes, but they don’t want to share their secrets! We have to make them understand how important it is to share their knowledge!” As he speaks, he remembers another product facing extinction: “In our country we eat an insect, the Totobi, but you can hardly find it anymore, so it could enter the Ark of Taste!”
And so the enthusiastic and lively group tackled many more questions and made suggestions to encourage change, in Italy and in Burkina Faso. Mahamoudou, a member of the Sabtenga association, added: “We know where we come from, but not yet where we’re going. Promoting Burkinabe culture from Italy, with a permanent link with our home villages, gives us meaning. In addition, in the villages, all activities done for the community are politically motivated, whereas we have more freedom outside the country.”
During the discussion, the importance of “roots” was very clear and everyone commented that they were sorry that the population of Burkina Faso was unaware of its heritage and the wealth of resources. Starting with them. Bambara Stanislas, a father of 2, left the country 12 years ago, hoping to find greater opportunities in Italy: “I was a young teacher, but I wanted to come to Europe simply for a taste of adventure. Had I known… It was hard and I didn’t manage to integrate well, but it’s not time to go back yet. Through our association, Song-Taaba-Adesib, I want to help Burkinabe migrants to live better, to educate Italians about our culture and to be proud of my roots. Even in Burkina Faso, they need to understand everything they can do!”
The meeting, to launch six new community gardens in Boulgou province (by 2015), was held as part of the Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso project, an initiative for the right to food promoted by 28 Acri-associated banking foundations, in collaboration with the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, ACRA-CCS, CISV, LVIA, MANI TESE and CeSPI, with the participation of 27 Burkinabe migrant associations in Italy.