Last week, I joined the TNT Express France team for an observation mission to Mali.
During a week, we visited several WFP's operations : warehouses in Bamako and Mopti, P4P - Purchase for Progress and SFP - School Feeding Programm in Dogon's country at Logo and Tougoume. We had a good welcome everywhere we went. Three staff from WFP Mali (Bamako) prepared the trip and accompagnied us. Two more, from WFP Mopti, joined us in Mopti and Dogon's country.
I was there as a new emergency response team's member. A good way to have a first hand feel of what the field is like.
Now, I concretly know how WFP works and their daily job is. A part to this job is to anticipate what kind of catastrophe could happend : flooding, famine, ...
This year, espacially, the lack of rain is making the cereal harvest very poor. Malians are very worried about the next months. WFP should be very vigilant, more than usual, to be sure that each village will have the food people need. Mali could soon be in an emergency situation.
The kindness of the people and the amazing welcome we received touched me deeply. I felt several emotion simultaneously : all of them were nice emotions. Joy, pride, humility : never any sort of pity. For me, the most moving moment was, in Tougoume school, when a little girl who was eating invited me to share her meal. In this school, I even saw a WFP's staff so touched that she was on the verge of tears, especially knowing that the school had applied most of the advise WFP gave few month before.
During this trip, I observed how much the WFP respects the security policies. Our convoy included 3 SUV. As soon as a car met with a difficulty - a puncture for example – the others stopped to stay together. The last day, in Bamako, as a demonstration for the death of Gaddhafi was announced, the ONDP asked us to stay strictly inside the WFP's office until 7.00 PM. Not very funny, but security first.
Finally the demonstration was cancelled and we were allowed us to go out if necessary during the day but we could'nt go to the center of the town.
To conclude this Blog, if unfortunately Mali needs or another subsaharian country needs an emergnecy response support, I would be sure to volunteer to be deployed in a heartbeat.