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The Cleanest Village in Guinea

January 22, 2018

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Today’s post is written by Stephen Albright, who serves in Guinea with CAMA and Envision. In the last couple years, CAMA has partnered with the media department of the C&MA national church in Guinea. Their first video series on “how to pick a good leader” was used in the context of the last governmental election. Three different TV stations played the series every day for two weeks prior to the election.

CAMA partnered once again with the media department of the C&MA church in Guinea to deal with the ever-present, ongoing problem of trash. The goal was to present local solutions to the seemingly impossible task of tackling the mountains of garbage in the capital city. Conakry, the capital, is home to more than 2 million people.

An opportunity arrived when we learned of a village called Taoulela. Situated on the border of Guinea and Liberia, this village has kept their streets clean since 1935. It all started when the chief visited Europe and wanted to implement the practice of removing garbage from the streets of their village.

Offering food to those who would clean alongside the chief, soon evolved into a daily practice passed on to younger generations. Taoulela now requires anyone elected to the paid position of district chief to make garbage a primary concern.

Their inspiring story is now told in a documentary produced by the church’s media department, called The Treasure of Taoulela. The video shows how every morning at 5 a.m. the community cleans and sweeps their streets. At around 7 a.m., they take the trash they collected and dump it at a site about 200 meters away.

The testimonials in the video are powerful, as it sweeps away cultural arguments as to why removing garbage is impossible in Guinea. People cannot argue with the fact that this village has kept their streets clean for years!

“If the capital city is beautiful and clean, it is an honor to all of us. If it is dirty, it is we who are dirty ourselves,” says the district chief of Taoulela in the documentary.

More importantly, the video shows how zero of the epidemics, including Ebola which ravaged surrounding villages, affected Taoulela. Even malaria is almost non-existent.

We are thrilled The Treasure of Taoulela is now played daily on national TV in a prime-time slot! After seeing the video projected in a variety of settings, we have heard people’s desire to go and do something about the garbage in their neighborhoods.

We are excited to see what God will do. Pray that people will begin to ponder the concepts and then put them into action, even if it goes against cultural norms.

Join in and watch the documentary below. Huge thanks to the media department for adding subtitles for us!

 

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