Meeting elderly lepers in the village of Bougouba, Mali, together with the Community of Sant'Egidio in Bamako

A friendly presence in an isolated and forgotten quarter

For many years the friends of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Mali have been visiting the elderly of the leprosy "village" of Bougouba in the Djicoronipara district of Bamako.
Emanuel, responsible for the Community, has written to us: Bougouba is located inside the city. About 2000 people live in this 'village', many of them, especially the elderly, are still bearing the signs of the disease.
Many lepers and their families, as there was enough land around, used to dedicate themselves to agriculture, and to produce food for themselves. The surplus was sold at the market: a kind of household economy, precious to sustain families.
However, this precious agricultural space has disappeared with urbanisation in recent years, food shortages have increased and many of our friends are now forced to go out on the streets to beg.
A 'village' of poor families with sick people, who can no longer provide for themselves.
It is in this rather difficult context that the young people of the Community, visit every week, their elderly friends, have parties and take care of the weakest. They bring them medicine, soap, clothing and food. As Ahmed, an elderly person and close friend, told us: " You are the only ones who have not forgotten us".