Taparko, January 14, 2009 - Wednesday

Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
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Trip End Jan 18, 2009


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Flag of Burkina Faso  , Centre-Nord,
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Farther up the road, not too far from Tougouri, we arrived in a settlement called Taparko. I don't know how long the buses to Dori had been stopping by here. But since 2007 a gold mine had been operating near the village and wherever there is gold, the importance of the locality skyrockets. So regardless of the fact that here in Taparko the most conspicuous landmark seemed to be a baobab tree with a couple of vultures perched high up in the tree top, you just couldn’t get around it any more.

Of course, gold equals money and wherever there is money, you have Americans, as well. They say the company operating the gold mine is American-owned. Or at least jointly. I’m not so sure, but either way, Uncle Sam is there.

Sadly, however, but equally common, whoever profits from this wealth, that don’t seem to be the locals. With their farmland plots appropriated by the state for what they inevitably saw as a disgracefully paltry compensation, with water sources rapidly dwindling, probably because of the water being diverted to the mine, and with working places more often than not going to people from elsewhere rather than to locals, in spite of early promises, Taparko wasn’t exactly the Garden of Eden.

There used to be small prospectors who had been for a long time scouring the surrounding area for grains of gold to help them make their living. That too was now taken away from them as big money couldn’t – and wouldn’t – afford to lose small money.

Certainly, none of that was rubbing off on us travellers. Same as in Tougouri just over a half an hour earlier, we stopped by only for a few minutes and then the bus moved on.
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