Ismael Bako, professional basketball player from Benin and ambassador for our Foundation was in Benin from 2 to 7 July 2021. He was introduced to the various projects and activities of the Foundation in agriculture, education and health. And… it may be said that he was very impressed. He started his visit in the Saint-Martin hospital in Papané. Here follows the report of the highlights of his trip with some pictures.
(at the bottom of the page you will find a larger version of the photos)
Ismael Bako, his older brother Malick and Pascale Van Assche arrived in Papané in the municipality of Tchaourou shortly before midday. The director of the Saint-Martin hospital in Papané, Emile Kouton, and a delegation of the Foundation’s local team were waiting for them. Together, they visited various departments: the maternity ward, the emergency department, paediatrics, radiology, not forgetting the accommodation for the guarde-malades that was recently built by the Foundation. Ismael also went to see the hospital garden where a banana plantation has been set up. Dr Emile Kouton concluded the visit to the hospital by taking Ismael to see the new monument erected in memory of Doctor Hubert (Hubi) and his fiancée Vinciane.
Together with the local team of the Foundation, Ismael then went to the primary school of Tékparou, still in the municipality of Tchaourou. The villagers welcomed them with song and dance. Ismael and Malick Bako did not let themselves be known and danced along before handing out school materials to the best pupils of each class. Ismael also solemnly opened the new well in Tékparou, which was constructed with the financial support of the Foundation and Rotary.
After Tékparou the journey went to Parakou for a visit to the seat of our Foundation, the Centre d’Innov’Action de Parakou (CIAP). Ismael was very interested in the aquaponics system that he saw there for the first time. The next day Ismael and the local team went to Boko and Gomez Kparou. There, Ismael made the first spade for the wells that will soon be constructed. The day ended with a visit to the training farm of Sokounon where Ismael, together with his brother and cousin and our reporter on the spot Chamsou-Dine, visited the banana plantation.
For Ismael the trip was also a great opportunity to attend a basketball game in the sports centre of Parakou. At the end of the game he gave the players some advice, not only about the game itself, but also about the importance of a balanced and healthy diet. Ismael also visited the site where the incubation centre of the Foundation will soon be built. And he was interviewed live on ORTB radio in Parakou about his sports career and about his role as ambassador for the Foundation.
During his stay in Benin, Ismael met in Parakou with the Prefect of Borgou, Djibril Mama Cissé. He took the opportunity to introduce himself and his role as ambassador of the Foundation. A few days later he was received in Cotonou in audience by the Minister of Sport, Oswald Oméky. The Minister organized a press conference where Ismael had the opportunity to introduce himself to the journalists and talk about his ambition to help young promising Benin basketeers to show their skills beyond the borders of Benin.