Names of the testimonials: Denis Lavoisier and Joëlle Desseigne
Sending Organization: SCI CAAL (Asia Africa Latin America Commission)
Years of the workcamps: 1982, 1983,1984
Places of the workcamps: Ivory Coast (Tefredji), Ghana (Amafi), Cameroon (Foyet)
Host organizations: AICV (Ivory Coast), VOLU (Ghana), UCJG (Cameroon)
What was your motivation to join a workcamp?
The discovery of others, the discovery of Africa
What did you take from that experience?
For us, these experiences represent a whole, I did the first work alone in Ivory Coast then we did the next two together in Ghana and Cameroon.
What did we take from that: everything! A philosophy of life. Meeting with others, the fact that men can live completely differently on the other side of the world but that they ultimately have the same values: mutual aid, solidarity, respect and listening to other, the pleasure of doing things in common, the fact of being able to live with little …
What do you still carry with you?
The experience continues for us. In 1986 and 1987, we took a year of availability (we are teachers) and we left, bags on our backs, traveling using local means of transport, from our home to West Africa. We returned to the 3 villages of our workcamps (we also discovered many others) and we found the people we had known in previous years. For us, that’s the essence of traveling, living with the people of the village, at their own pace, living their joys and sorrows, their difficulties even if we must not deny that we were only passing through, doing the celebrate with them, work with them: in the village of Ghana which has a collective organization, we participated in collective work and in that of Cameroon, villagers took us to their fields.
During this trip, we were particularly interested in toys made by African children, for themselves, to play and we have on our return created an exhibition “Africa, on the track of toys” which was shown throughout France and still is. We have created a Wotoroni association, established partnerships with Mali and Burkina, shown here to children and their parents of other ways of living, created bridges between Africa and France which are still active today.
The spirit of the SCI, the mutual knowledge of men through meeting and common activities, always punctuates our life.
Children playing and building their own toys