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#VillageStory Kaï – A Village With a Magical Atmosphere

August 21, 2020


Kaï is very close to our hearts, because the people there welcomed us with so much enthusiasm and motivation. They have really fought to get electricity.


An Extraordinary Welcome, Which Left a Lasting Impression

When we visited the village with our team for the first time, a huge column of 50 young motorcyclists was already waiting at the crossroads. They were all waving with big grins on their faces. They had come to greet us and accompany us to the village. 

Kaï is located in the Sikasso region in southern Mali and had no access to electricity until this point. Initially, Africa GreenTec only went to villages that already had an electricity grid. 

But why do some villages already have an electricity grid and yet no access to electricity? In the past decades, there have been many attempts to electrify rural regions in Mali. These projects were mostly based on diesel generators as power generators or failed during the development of the project.

In Kaï, the analysis of the circumstances therefore suggested that the village would not be one of the first projects to be electrified. However, the people in Kaï were so enthusiastic and motivated that they organized themselves completely to make an electricity grid possible. Funds were generated from the diaspora and sufficient money was raised in the village with a great deal of initiative. Tree trunks were procured and erected as electricity pylons. In this way, the village simply built the entire electricity grid itself without having to take any money from the project budget.

Kaï is very agricultural. Among other things, cashews, mangoes, peanuts and tomatoes are grown, which is where our Cooltainer is particularly useful for the future.
Better cold chains mean that the harvest can be stored for longer, valuable food does not spoil every day in the sun and the farmers can offer their goods at better prices as the pressure to sell is reduced.


What's the Meaning of Family?

Kaï consists of many small courtyards with round huts. There is a communal cooking area in the middle of almost every courtyard. This is quite typical for West Africa. In West Africa, family usually doesn't just mean father, mother and child, but also includes neighbors and friends. There is a nice saying that sums up the local attitude to family well: "It takes a whole village to raise a child." In keeping with this motto, all the inhabitants of a farm often sit around the cooking area in the evening, eating, drinking and having fun together.


Unique Opening Ceremony

The evening we arrived in the village, the people threw a big party for us, which went on late into the night. There was a lot of dancing and laughter. The atmosphere was indescribable. After the party, we lay awake in our beds until dawn. The vibrating and rhythmic sound of the dancers stamping on the sandy ground was still ringing in our ears.


The Importance of Electricity In Health Care

Unfortunately, our technical director at the time couldn't be there. A few days earlier, we had been traveling in the southern region. We took off from Bamako when he suddenly felt ill. At first, everyone suspected he just had a cold, but as his temperature rose, the suspicion of malaria quickly arose. However, the malaria test was negative, so a day later he went to hospital in Sikou with our founder Aida Schreiber and was tested for typhoid. The hospital was well organized and with the help of Aida, who was able to interpret in German and Bambara, communication was no problem. Our colleague was given paracetamol for the next few days and slowly got better and better.

The importance of electricity, especially in hospitals, was brought to the fore during our trip. How many births could take place more risk-free with electricity, how many operations could succeed with a reliable power source? How many doctors could treat their patients better at night in an emergency? All these questions drive us in our work.