"A visit with a cause: in progress!" Top 5 Page for this destination Senegal by irisbe

Senegal Travel Guide: 637 reviews and 1,680 photos

Ingrid Pira meets Seckou Kande

I have reserved this space of my homepage to add some parts of Ingrid Pira's -mayor of Mortsel during that legislation - trip to the little village Bantancountou in Senegal at 750 km South of Dakar in a region called Casamance. She was accompanied by a farmer's wife from Aalter, Isabelle Schollier and a journalist, Dirk Musschoot of the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad and author of several books for children and for adults, eg. "De Vlamingen op de Titanic" (The Flemish on the Titanic) and "We gaan naar Amerika" (We are going to America).

Ingrid went there November 2002 with a mission: to let the world get informed about what tragedy might happen if we don't react on the outbalanced economical pressure IMF and other organisations are putting these people under.
Starvation is just around the corner and the rich world is to blame for a huge part.
She went there on request of the organisation
"Vredeseilanden" (Islands of peace) who focus on small and localy useful projects in coordination with the local people.
It is an organisation that actually LISTEN to what is needed and try to help without DEMANDING any economical compensations in return.

Tomorrow, 9th of January 2003, I will join a bread dinner at our local city hall
(Mortsel) with the mayor, Seckou Kande, of this little Senegalese village in the South of Senegal, close to Konda, called Bantancountou. He was invited to a visit in Mortsel.

More info later on this and on my Mortsel page!
I can already tell you I was very much impressed with the charmisma of this man and the responsability he had put on his shoulders to make this life memorable trips to talk to the Senegalese minister of agriculture in Dakar and to make this trip to Belgium (in this terrible cold!).

He has been given a lot of support by Vredeseilanden and by journalist
Alassane Cisse, who did the promotion of the "Hamdallaya concerts" that made part of the whole sensibilisation action.

The Belgian NGO Vredeseilanden wants to promote a world free of exclusion and injustice. It offers new chances to Third World farmers? families and aims at structural changes in the North-South relationship, aiming to make sufficient and healthy food available to every human being.

visit the website of

The diary of Ingrid

Diary of a Senegal trip from 15th till 22nd of November 2002
Ingrid Pira, mayor of Mortsel

How it started:
Very unexpectedly I was, being a Flemish mayor, requested by the NGO Vredeseilanden, to visit Seckou Kande, the mayor of the village of Bantancountou, in the South of Senegal.
The purpose of this meeting was to create a report for Vredeseilanden that appeared early January 2003 in the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
This reportage would be the opening of the new annual campaign of the NGO named: "Each bit(e) helps against hunger".
Bantancountou: a village with huts, no gas, no electricity, nor phone, but with a terrible road, hardly deserving that name, that isolates the place from the rest of the world.
Seven hundred "families" are living here, the major part of them are peanut farmers. The peanut harvest is meant for the export. Due to interference and restricting regulations opposed by the World Bank and the IMF, the minimum price of the crops is no longer guaranteed.
The consequences: poverty, exhausted soil due to monoculture and famine.
The aim of Vredeseilanden is to focus our attention on this problematic situation and to promote new agricultural techniques, new projects, new crops, name it perm culture.

The visiting crew to Bantancountou existed out of me, Ingrid; a journalist of the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad and a reader of that newspaper, a female farmer who has a milk cow farm. In Dakar Wilfried Fieremans and his wife, two local ankers of the NGO, joined our company.

I insist on thanking Vredeseilanden for the unforgettable week that I have experienced in the company of this traveling crew.
I hope that the confrontation between the Flemish and the Senegalese mayor, between the female farmer and the Senegalese mayor farmer, will provide enough material and locomotion to guarantee a helpful start to the campaign of Vredeseilanden

The detailed diary will appear in the off the beaten path trips

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful country, solidarity amongst people
  • Cons:Monoculture is threatening the lives of thousands!!!
  • In a nutshell:Go to the site of VE and read (most in Dutch, partly English)
  • Last visit to Senegal: Nov 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (39)

Comments (42)

  • irisbe's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    Hi Mike little correction. It was my major's diary I was allowed to translate and write down and some of the pictures are marked with another name, the one of the journalist traveling with her. I am not sure how it is now.

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2009 at 2:04 PM

    A really touching account of your visit back in 2002. Have you been able to catch up on any changes there - hopefully life is getting easier for them? Have they started farming with different cash crops? Regards, Mike

  • babazula's Profile Photo
    Jun 7, 2006 at 2:48 PM

    really great info...thanks for sharing...

  • jose_a_juan's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2006 at 2:22 PM

    i realy like your cs und your coments are very in teresting. thanks

  • Mar 19, 2006 at 12:30 AM

    Hi Dannie, Hoping that you are ok and enjoying your Sunday. More and more I am intrested to see more of Africa! Your pic's and info. are great! Thank you.

  • Wafro's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2005 at 7:12 AM

    Yes indeed, every country should benefit of globalization and not alone the richest. It?s very noble of you to show this all. GRTZ

  • Norali's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2005 at 5:18 AM

    Indeed, I took many pictures but not enough.. I don't regret, when not taking pictures I was busy living, focused on what was narrated, on what I was soaking up...

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2005 at 3:36 AM

    Very moving and interesting writings and beautiful pictures!

  • aussiedoug's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2004 at 3:43 AM

    Glad I looked at this one of your pages 1st after visiting your homepage as it reflects so well some of the values you show yourself to hold. What a gr8 journey.

  • Martman's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2004 at 1:06 PM

    Interesting, I learnt a lot here.


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