Oumarou Dakuyo

Oumarou (pronounced “Ooh-ma-roo) is one of the first faces you will see if you arrive at the student hostel on Sunday morning. He is one of two or three students waiting at the door to greet people as they arrive for the Sunday service. He is a natural greeter with a friendly, open face and a ready smile. He is a regular at all of the events at the residence, not just Sunday worship.

I only recently learned more about Oumarou. After he graduated from high school with his BAC, he was not sure he could go to university. The university is located far from his home and he does not have relatives with whom he could stay. Therefore, he would be required to find lodgings and pay rent. The students are given a modest assistance from the state (to the tune of $300.00 a year), but it often takes a few months for the money to be distributed. The students are on their own in the meantime. Renters in the capital, Ouagadougou, often have to pay two or three months’ rent as an advance before moving into their lodgings. Oumarou comes from a farming family where spare cash is a scarce commodity. His family would not be able to help him pay his rent. This fact alone could have prevented him from pursuing his studies.

Oumarou has an older friend from the same village who lived at the Mennonite student residence. This friend told Oumarou about the hostel and Oumarou asked if there would be room for him. There was a bed available and Oumarou moved in. Thanks to the student hostel, he is able to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor while also growing stronger in his Christian faith.



This past week the students at the Mennonite hostel were in charge of the Sunday morning worship service. Oumarou, a second year medical student, wrote a poem to be performed during the service. Poetry being what it is, we are not translating it into English. Apologies to anglophone readers.

Poème présenté le 17 mars, 2013

lors du culte dirigé par les étudiants résidants à FEMO

Tous ici présents

Tous d’origines diverses

Tous orphelins dans une si large ville

Chers Frères nous voici enfin réconfortés

Devenus si bavards au sein d’une mère allaitante

Elle nous accueille.

Fortifiés par son lait,

Ordonnés grâce à ses conseils, il

Y a du bonheur. Nous sommes


Ré-encouragés au foyer.

Frère !

Et ta sœur est-elle

Malade ?

Oriente-la au FEMO où règne Jésus.

FEMO :     Foyer de l’Eglise Mennonite de Ouagadougou

Une seule devise : accueil

Une seule visée : croissance dans la foi

Une seule préoccupation : leadership

Un seul sens : notre existence

O ! jeune septénaire,

En moins d’une décennie,

Tu as déjà fait preuve de

Mérite d’existence.

Jésus Christ y est le ciment des relations interpersonnelles incorruptibles.

DAKUYO Oumarou (dakuyooumarou@ymail.com)

L’auteur de ce poème n’est pas un spécialiste qualifié. Juste de l’amour de la poésie et l’opportunité que le foyer m’a laissé que je ne pouvais pas m’empêcher de faire ressortir cette grande joie de ce jour.

Alors, chers lecteurs, vous voyez l’emplacement des strophes en escaliers donne une forme globalement arrondi au poème ; ceci rappelle que les choses chevauchent parallèlement. Les petites difficultés sont réglées pour nous les bénéficiaires autour d’une table.

Strophe 1 : « tous » renvoie aux étudiants vivants au foyer

Strophe 3 : les premières lettres de chaque vers forment le mot « FOYER » qui termine d’ailleurs la strophe.

Strophe 4 : Idem, mais ici le mot « FEMO » est renvoyé au début de la strophe suivante : c’est le jeu de mots en poésie.

Strophe 5 : Elle renferme l’essentiel de ma pensée.

Après le BAC, je ne savais plus quoi faire à cause du problème de logement qui se pose ici à Ouagadougou. Or, issu d’une famille n’ayant pas de revenus mensuels, il serait difficile voire impossible pour moi de continuer des études médicales si le foyer ne m’accueillait pas.

Je m’arrête là car je n’ai pas suffisamment de mots pour tout dire.

March Prayer Letter

New Prayer Letter Format

Greetings once again from Ouagadougou! This month we’re test-driving our new prayer letter format. Instead of sending an attached file we’re using a service called MailChimp to embed the letter directly into an email message. We hope this works better for those who have not received our letters consistently because of technical glitches. If you’d like to sign up to receive our email prayer letters, click on the link Subscribe to our newsletter in the column on the right, just above the calendar. Let us know what you think of this new medium.

International Women’s Day

March 8 was International Women’s Day around the world. In Burkina Faso it is also a national holiday. The standard joke is that 364 days of the year are “Men’s days” and that women get the one remaining day! On March 8, 1987, Thomas Sankara, then leader of Burkina Faso, required men to do the shopping and cook for their wives. He felt it would help men to understand the challenges their wives faced. In many homes there is conflict over how much money the men give their wives to shop with: the wives say that it is not enough, while their husbands accuse the wives of not purchasing enough with the money they get!


This year on March 8 the students who live in the hostel organized an outing at a local park. We spent some time debating the topic of community life. The discussion leaders asked questions like: What is life in community? Does the student hostel constitute a community? Is it important? What behaviors will help us be successful in our community living? The most interesting answers were about how easy or difficult it is to live in community. Some said that it was easy if we learn to listen to each other and demonstrate respect and understanding. Others said no, it is difficult because we are different from one another and all need to work at self-control. Clearly with 24 students currently living at the hostel, this is a very relevant topic!


It’s Hot!Screen_shot_2013_03_09_at_18.52.42_

I (Nancy) have never liked air conditioning. I get cold very easily and prefer to be warm rather than cool. When it gets hot I slow down, drink more water, wear loose clothing and sit under a fan. When we lived in Benin we kept cool with fans and didn’t use air conditioning. In Ouagadougou we’re encountering a level of heat we had not experienced before and have taken to using the air conditioner at night. We’re hoping for an early rainy season to cool things down! Although we were warned, I don’t think we really understood how much the temperature would change. Pray that we acclimatize rapidly in this new context!

Jeremiah and Deborah

Growing up in Cotonou and now here in Ouagadougou, Jeremiah and Deborah have benefited from having relationships with people from a wide range of socio-economic levels. They’ve had friends at the international schools they attend who are wealthy. But they’ve also had friends who are quite poor. They have seen both wealth and poverty and place themselves somewhere along the continuum. This year they have the opportunity to reflect on the rich/poor disparity. Their youth group is organizing a thirty hour fast which includes raising money for three different social programs in Ouagadougou: a ministry for street children, a home for at risk young women, and a food program for needy families. After the fast they will have a hands-on experience with the three ministries. We hope this experience will further educate them about wealth disparities and increase their desire to put their faith into action.

Please join us in praying:

  • Pray for the students at FEMO, the Mennonite hostel. Recently two have lost fathers rather unexpectedly. Pray for Elizabeth and Kinani and for their respective families.
  • Pray for a smooth transition as the students prepare to move to the new FEMO site. Pray that the remodeling will be finished quickly and for good closure with the landlord as we move out of the rented facilities. Pray for the community spirit and understanding to remain strong as the students adjust to a new living situation.
  • Pray for Jeremiah and Deborah and their youth group, that their thirty hour fast will be a good experience as they learn to make sacrifices in order to share God’s love with others in concrete action.
  • Join us in thanking God for abundant goodness in our lives. We are grateful for cold water, for air conditioning, and for a reliable car, all of which facilitate living and working in Burkina Faso.