Bani Travel Blog› entry 25 of 50 › view all entries
Most tourists only pay Bani a quick visit during the day, or stay one night at most, but we stayed a couple of days. My boyfriend used to live there for a couple of years, so he had a lot of catching up to do. By the end of our stay, I'd shaken hands with about half of the population, including the mayor.
Bani is one of those places in the world that are so special you can almost feel it, like there's some spiritual vibe in the air. It's the religious centre of the region, which is also the reason why it's popular with tourists, though even without the mosques, it would be worth a visit because it's just so pretty. We slept outside. The first night I woke up to the sound of a men's choir.
Even though it is a blessed place, life in Bani is not easy. People are poor, weather conditions are harsh (I was told I could never leave because it rained every day during my stay, but usually just a little), the main tower of the Great Mosque collapsed and there is no money or water to repair it, and most children never go to school. That's a problem all over Burkina - there is no compulsory education, and the school fee of about 50 € a year is way too high for a lot of parents. It's no wonder Burkina has the lowest litteracy rate of the world. We went to visit a local school that my boyfriend helped to build a couple of years ago, and that is run entirely by local volunteers. They are always in need of books and school supplies (donations are shared with the official village school), and also need more benches (which means more students) and solar panels. So please contact me if you want to donate something, or maybe even volunteer at the school. It's a small project, but every child counts, and there are so many people in Burkina who would have been capable to go to university in different circumstances, yet never even got the chance to learn to read and write.