Ousmane Pame, Findhorn Fellow, President of Global Ecovillage Network – Africa, and Mayor of the Eco-town of Guédé Chantier, shares his personal story one year on from Findhorn’s New Story Summit….
How has the New Story Summit effected positive change in your life and in your work in the world?
The New Story Summit was a great inspiring moment in my journey on this planet. It was an opportunity to learn about the inspiring experiences of world community leaders, expand my human connections and networks. These networks bring a lot of moral support in our daily actions to heal our part of the planet and support local vulnerable communities.
What new pathways have opened up for your planetary future?
I believe that the summit has strengthened my vocation and capacity as a bridge builder between communities and regions. Soon after I return from the Summit, I called a meeting in my area and set up a network called REDES, which stands for Network for the Emergence and Development of Ecovillages in the Sahel Region. Its ambition is to cover all the subSaharan countries including Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and the Gambia.
Today we have community representatives in three countries and 57 village communities are now members of REDES. After a year of administrative procedure, REDES is now fully registered and officially recognized. More villages and communities have expressed their desire to join our network.
In addition to this, with the help of a fellow summit participant, I am fundraising to create more schools in rural communities in Senegal: More Classrooms in Senegal. I also met with officials in Mauritania to support the creation of a national network of ecovillages of Mauritania.
I’m currently working on a community project on both sides of river Senegal to strengthen the cooperation between the two nations.
I have also written articles in the press, which I also have shared with about 160 mayors, 200 journalists, and the same number of University teachers in Senegal.
I’m glad to inform that some of my colleagues at the department of geography are now interested in the ecovillage movement and sending their students for service learning in ecovillages.
What challenges you? How do you overcome obstacles?
I can’t bear the collective madness we live in now. Millions of people are doing the right thing for our planet and our communities. We need to be aware of this and make it visible to create the necessary shifts in the course of the world. We have the moral obligation to stop some of the world decision makers who lead us into a cycle of disasters. Capitalism is death for our planet and for the good sense in our people.
I am often torn between my family, professional duties and my work on the ground. I always discuss honestly this with my family and partners. Now that I have finished writing my thèse d’Etat, I will have more time for community work.
My time and skills are limited. So I always make sure I have the right people and skills around me. It is important to have strong teams of human resources.
What supports you?
I feel supported by my family, community, work teams and the love people give me.
How has your inner perspective changed? How has this affected your outer reality?
I feel a part of a world network and a strong community. I have friends around the world. I feel I’m not alone in my dream for change, for a higher civilization based on love and care for each other and for the planet. I’m more serene, more patient and I feel encouraged in the work I do in my part of the world.
How have you worked with the unknown and emergent nature of new story themes?
The unknown is part and parcel of my life journey, of my community work. But there is hope as more and more people are awakening to the necessity to take action for a better world. It’s not going to be an easy adventure, the way to go is still long and the task is huge. Spiritual change is not always easy to achieve but the hope to get there for a better future is alive and strong within my networks.
How have you integrated the best of the ancient story as you walk towards the new?
The ancient story is not the same everywhere on this planet. Our responsibilities in the destruction of the planet are the same but the damage the West in general has created affects more the other parts of the world. Rural communities in Africa have done very little in the destruction of our world but are now facing the consequences of the greed of the West and of our local leaders. The strength, wisdom, and visions of indigenous communities should be known and promoted around the world. The indigenous communities will save our planet or it will not be saved and protected. The new story has its roots in the forests, by the river banks, savannahs of Africa, in the mountains and jungles of the global South.
What future do you now see, personally and collectively?
The current environmental disasters will speed up the global awareness to take action. My belief is that if we do nothing humanity will have less and less choice. Mother Nature will not take care of us if we do not take care of her.