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  #21  
Old 02-23-2005, 01:48 PM
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Visiting a hospital, meeting mothers and their children
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  #22  
Old 02-23-2005, 01:49 PM
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does she like african really ? but why she is hiding her eyes with sunglasses
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  #23  
Old 02-25-2005, 04:19 AM
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MOPTI, MALI: Princess Mathilde of Belgium is pictured during a visit of the Mopti region in central Mali 24 February 2005. AFP PHOTO BELGA / Michel GOUVERNEUR (Photo credit should read MICHEL GOUVERNEUR/AFP/Getty Images)
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  #24  
Old 02-26-2005, 08:12 AM
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Visiting the tribe of the Dogon
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  #25  
Old 02-26-2005, 08:14 AM
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More of the same
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  #26  
Old 02-26-2005, 08:18 AM
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Placing the first stone of a school and holding a speech

Her speech:

Madame le Ministre,
Messieurs les Ministres,
Excellences,
Mesdames et Messieurs,

Selon la sagesse populaire malienne, « Celui qui s’occupe de l’enfant d’autrui épargnera à sa propre descendance tout malheur loin de la case familiale ».
La protection et l’éducation des enfants se situent au cœur de la culture du Mali, un pays dont je découvre les valeurs et parmi celles-ci, la dignité, la générosité et le sens de l’hospitalité.

L’éducation est une priorité de la coopération entre le Mali et la Belgique. L’éducation est au coeur du développement humain et constitue un élément essentiel de la lutte contre la pauvreté.

Dès lors, je suis particulièrement heureuse de pouvoir poser aujourd’hui la première pierre de l’Institut Professionnel de Bankass.

La pose d’une première pierre est un moment émouvant car il est porteur d’espoir et d’avenir.

Chaque enfant a le droit à un enseignement de base de qualité.
J’ai souligné à plusieurs reprises mon engagement personnel à ce sujet lors de notre visite au Mali.

Je souhaiterais saisir cette occasion pour exprimer mon estime pour l’action positive du Mali et pour les progrès considérables enregistrés dans le domaine de l’éducation.

Certes, ces bons résultats ne peuvent nous faire oublier la persistance de disparités importantes entre les régions du Mali et l’écart significatif entre la scolarisation des filles et celle des garçons. J’accorde à l’éducation des filles une attention toute particulière. Car une fois adulte, une fille éduquée contribuera au développement et au bien-être de ses enfants, de sa famille et de sa communauté.

La Belgique contribue au programme décennal de l’éducation, tant dans l’enseignement fondamental que dans l’enseignement technique et professionnel.

C’est dans ce cadre que s’inscrit la construction de l’Institut professionnel de Bankass. A ce titre, je me réjouis de la volonté du Mali d’offrir aux élèves de l’intérieur du pays la possibilité d’accéder aux mêmes formations que celles prodiguées dans les grandes villes.

L’Institut professionnel assurera des formations dans les filières porteuses d’emploi, en fonction des besoins de l’économie locale.
En enseignant des matières telles que l’agriculture ou la maroquinerie, l’Institut pourrait devenir un moteur de développement économique dans cette partie du pays.

Je voudrais formuler le souhait que cet Institut permette d’ouvrir de nouvelles perspectives à toute la population de la région de Bankass et particulièrement aux jeunes filles.

Je vous remercie pour votre accueil chaleureux et souhaite pleine réussite à ce projet d’école.
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  #27  
Old 02-26-2005, 08:26 AM
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Visiting villages, making a cruise on the river Niger and supporting a program to allow girls to go to school.
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  #28  
Old 02-26-2005, 08:29 AM
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  #29  
Old 02-26-2005, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathérine Bergeyck
,,Leve de prinses uit Europa''
Bezoek prinses Mathilde geeft het straatarme Mali hoop

Mali is straatarm. Nauwelijks drie landen ter wereld zijn armer. Wellicht daarom is prinses Mathilde hier zo welkom. Duizenden schoolkinderen stonden haar gisteren welkom te zingen en te dansen aan het kleine ziekenhuis dat aidspatiëntjes begeleidt. Lichtjes voorovergebogen, zoals koning Boudewijn destijds, wandelde ze door de zwarte massa en aanhoorde hun gezangen en zorgen.

Het was een lange vermoeiende reis van Melsbroek naar Bamako. Omdat onze regeringsvliegtuigen kleine benzinetanks hebben, moest er twee keer worden gestopt in Algerije om bij te tanken. Maar zondagnacht arriveerden we moe en heelhuids in Bamako, de hoofdstad van Mali, een prachtig land doormidden gesneden door de imposante rivier de Niger.

De Vlaamse lady Di

Mali heeft een president die bijzonder geliefd is bij zijn onderdanen. President Touré pleegde lang geleden een militaire coup en zette onmiddellijk daarna een stap terug om de democratie binnen te laten. Inmiddels is hij de verkozen president.

Prinsessen kennen ze hier niet. Voor de Malinese kinderen zijn het echt nog figuren uit sprookjes vol koningen en keizers. Gisteren troepten dan ook duizenden jonge zwarten samen aan het Moeder-Kind-ziekenhuis dat door onze regering wordt gesteund. De prinses, in het gezelschap van minister voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking Armand De Decker, kwam er als een Vlaamse lady Diana jonge aids-patiëntjes en hun moeders een steuntje in de rug geven.

Al een uur op voorhand stond de stofferige straat barstensvol jonge mensen die op Afrikaanse troms uitbundig dansten en zongen. ,,Leve de prinses van Europa'', schreeuwde een klasje, want voor die kinderen hier is het onderscheid tussen België en Europa een moeilijk begrip.

Mathilde stapte uit de wagen en werd als een heldin onthaald. Er heerste een enthousiasme dat wij in het koele Europa al lang vergeten zijn.

De directeur van een klein schooltje hield me staande. ,,Is het waar dat het in België nul graden is?'' ,,Ja natuurlijk,'' antwoordde ik. De man keek mysterieus voor zich uit. ,,Is dat dan zo koud als in de frigo?'', vroeg hij plots. Toen ik hem antwoordde dat het bij ons soms véél kouder is dan in zijn koelkast, knikte hij vol eerbied. ,,Daar zou ik nooit kunnen wonen.''

Belgische micro-banking

Gisterenmiddag werden in het bijzijn van de prinses belangrijke verdragen getekend tussen Mali en België. Ons land steunt er de micro-banking, een systeem dat armen krediet wil geven. Mensen die nu tussen de plooien van de banken vallen en nooit kunnen lenen, krijgen nieuwe kansen. Zo kan een arme Malinese huisvrouw nu een kleine som lenen om een naaimachine te kopen en zo kleren te maken voor de andere minderbedeelden uit haar wijk. Zo klimmen kansarmen stilaan uit de hel van de armoede.

Mathilde heeft die armoede ondertussen al gezien en gevoeld. De gemiddelde Malinees rooit het met drie dollar per dag. Veel luxe is aan hem niet besteed. Daarom ziet president Touré ons hier zo graag komen. Hij ontving gisteren de prinses in audiëntie en beklemtoonde achteraf hoe belangrijk de aandacht en de hulp van België wel zijn. Mali heeft het moeilijk. Sinds het land door strubbelingen in Ivoorkust haar kust verloor, werd het nog meer afgesneden van de rest van de wereld en werd het leven hier nog duurder.

De 222 Belgen die hier verblijven werken ofwel voor NGO's ofwel voor kleine en grote ondernemingen. Prinses Mathilde voelt zich tijdens haar tweede buitenlandse missie die ze op haar eentje onderneemt (vorig jaar bezocht ze het nog armere Niger) duidelijk in haar sas. Ze laveert goed voorbereid door de warme slome chaos die zwart Afrika ons biedt.

,,Elle est belle'', gaapte Jean-Jacques, een mécanicien uit Bamako. ,,Men zegt ons dat ze nog meer hulp uit jullie land komt voorspellen.''

Geen vijftig jaar

Om die hulp is het hier te doen. De gemiddelde man wordt in Mali geen vijftig jaar. Iedereen probeert hier op straat iets te verkopen om 's avonds het kroostrijke gezin te voeden. Alle beetjes helpen, en een beetje aandacht van de bleke Belgen doet hopen op beterschap en mededogen.

Gisterenavond gingen we dineren bij de president. Uit de sfeer bleek hoe welkom elk sprenkeltje hoop wel is in dit arme land vol vriendelijke mensen. Prinses Mathilde lijkt zich zeer bewust van het belang dat wordt gehecht aan het bezoek van die sprookjesachtige mooie Europese prinses. Met de glimlach die ze met wijlen Lady Di mag delen, straalt ze bezorgdheid en hoop op een beter toekomst uit.
Translation:

“LONG LIVE THE PRINCESS FROM EUROPE



Visit of princes Mathilde brings hope to the poverty-stricken Mali



Mali is penniless. There are only 3 countries in the world that are poorer. That’s probably why princess Mathilde is welcomed with so much enthusiasm. Thousands of school children were awaiting her yesterday, singing and dancing near the small hospital that works with aids patients. Slightly bent forward, like king Baudouin back in the day, she walked through the masses and listened to their songs and their worries.



It was a long and tiring flight from Melsbroek (in Belgium) to Bamako. Because our government planes have small petrol tanks, two stops had to be made in Algeria. But Sunday night everybody arrived, tired but all right, in Bamako, the capital of Mali, a beautiful country that’s cut in two by the majestic river Niger.



The Belgian lady Di



Mali has a president who is very loved by his subjects. President Touré committed a military coup a long time ago but immediately installed democracy. In the meantime he got elected as president.



They don’t know princesses here. For Malinese children they are figures from fairy tales full of kings and emperors. So yesterday thousands of young black people massed together at the mother and child hospital that’s supported by the government. The princess, accompanied by the minister of foreign aid, Armand De Decker, came to encourage the young aids patients and their mothers.



Already an hour beforehand the dusty streets were full of young people, playing percussion, dancing and singing “Long live the princes from Europe”, the class was shouting, because for children so far away there’s little difference between Belgium and Europe.



The director of the school stopped me “Is it true it’s zero degrees in Belgium now?” “Yes of course”, I answered. The man looked mysteriously “Is it as cold as in a refridgerator?” he suddenly asked. When I answered him that in our country it’s sometimes a lot colder than in a fridge, he nodded respectfully. “I could never live there”.
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  #30  
Old 02-26-2005, 09:25 AM
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Belgian micro-banking



Yesterday at noon, in presence of Mathilde, agreements were signed between Mali and Belgium. Our country supports micro-banking, a system that gives credit to poor people. People who can’t get support from the bank, and are not able to make a loan, now get new chances. A Malinese housewife for instance, can now loan a small sum to buy a sowing machine and make clothes for other poor people in her neighbourhood. That’s how the underpriviledged can slowly but surely get out of the hell that is poverty.



In the meanwhile Mathilde has seen and experienced that poverty. The average Malinese has to survive with 3 dollars a day. He doesn’t get much luxury. That’s why president Touré is so happy to see us. Yesterday he received the princess in audience and emphasized how important the attention and help from Belgium is. Mali is going through a hard time. Since the frictions with Ivory Coast, where it lost its coast, it was cut off from the rest of the world and life became more and more expensive.



The 222 Belgians who reside here work for NGOs or for small or big firms. Princess Mathilde is feeling good during her third solo mission abroad (last year she visited the even poorer Niger). She moves well prepared through the slow chaos that black Africa offers us.



“She is pretty” says Jean-Jacques, a mechanic from Bamako. “They say us she’s come to predict even more help from your country”.



Not even 50 years



Help is what counts here. The average man in Mali doesn’t become 50 yaers old. Everybody tries to sell something in the streets to help feed their big families. Everything helps, and a bit of attention from the pale Belgians creates hope for a better future and compassion.



Yesterday night we dined with the president. From the atmosphere it was clear how welcome each spark of hope is in this poor country full of friendly people. Princess Mathilde seems very aware of the importance that is attached to the visit of this fairy tale beauty of a European princess.
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  #31  
Old 02-26-2005, 01:41 PM
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Great photos and thanks for the translations. An important mission for Mathilde and the people of Mali.
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Old 02-27-2005, 04:07 AM
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There were various interviews with her in Mali, this one comes from "La Province" (24/02/2005)



"Mathilde: "I adore Africa""

The princess will remember the warmth of the people of Mali, the dignity and courage of the women.

Yesterday Mathilde ended her mission in Mali. Before taking the plane to Brussels she agreed to give us an interview.

>Which memories will you keep from this travel?

M: "The very warm welcome of the people. I felt a lot of humanity. I visited very interesting projects. I will keep an excellent memory of this visit to Mali. It certainly won't be the last time I've been here."

>Are you thinking of coming back with prince Philippe?

M: "Yes. I'll come back with him to show him this country that's touched me deeply."

>What surprised you most here in Mali?

M: "I was able to talk very openly with the president of Mlai about the condition of women in his country, about genital mutilations that he's trying to stop. And what especially touched me is the problem of the education. An educated woman with children has more chances. She can more easily bring up her own children, who will be living in in more favorable conditions when it comes to their health care. And also, when it comes to microcredit, the women I met and who made me realize how much their lives have changed because of it, this project brings hope."

>What has the contact with the women of Mali tought you?

M: " They have a lot of dignity. With an incredibale courage they fulfill the masses of very important work that still have to be done during the day: They have to walk for miles to get water, wood etc. Very impressive."

>You were very well prepared before you left for Mali. Is their something here that still was a real discovery?

M: "Yes: the human warmth, the contact with people. For instance, Ousmane Sy, who will receive the prize of the King Baudouin Fund. He does great efforts for his country. His fight against poverty is a miracle. I learnt so much by meeting people, and what particularly struck me was the very relaxed way of life people have here. It's very communicatif."

>Can you compare this trip with the one you made to Niger last year?

M: "I can't compare it because each country has its own caracteristics. I keep a unique memory of Niger. It are two poor countries that are doing everything they can to get out of their difficult situation. The Belgian cooperation helps a great deal. For instance the projects we visited yesterday: building a well in a village changes people's lives radically."

>Are you thinking making a next trip to Africa?

M: "It's too early to tell. But I adore Africa..."

>Once you're back in Belgium, you will no doubt be telling your children about this mission?

M: "Of course, in simple words. I will show them the objects I received, and through that, I will try to explain them the mission. My daughter is 3 years old so she knows where I am. But my little boy is 1,5 years old and it will no doubt be harder to explain him.

> What's your favorite gift among the ones you received?

M: "I really can't chose, every gift was one from the heart."

>Last year, in Niger, you received a horse...

M: "Yes, that didn't happen this year. Luckily, I would say, because if we would heve taken it home, we would have to leave all our lugage behind..."
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Old 02-27-2005, 08:44 AM
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Thanks for the interview (and the many great pictures before, too!) Catherine! :)

The interview from La Province was very insightful. Mathilde obviously really talked, listened and learned from the people of Mali. I'm also really impressed that she address such difficult and sometimes controversial issues as genital mutilation -- and with the President of Mali no less.

The last comment about leaving the luggage behind if they had gotten another horse was hilarious! A wry sense of humour from Mathilde, too!
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  #34  
Old 02-28-2005, 02:36 AM
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Thanks everybody for pictures.
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  #35  
Old 03-02-2005, 02:27 AM
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Here are the photos that Corbis has from the trip:
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  #36  
Old 03-02-2005, 02:35 AM
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More from Corbis. Some funny expressions by Mathilde in a few of these:
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  #37  
Old 03-02-2005, 02:43 AM
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  #38  
Old 03-02-2005, 03:05 AM
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Final batch from Corbis.
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  #39  
Old 03-12-2005, 03:17 PM
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More photos from clasos.com
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Old 06-05-2005, 08:37 AM
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and the last ones...
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