Crafts: A teacher by training, Abdoulaye Ouattara makes coloring his passion

Abdoulaye Ouattara is a teacher in the rural commune of Boussé, in the province of Kourwéogo, Plateau-Central region. A resident of the city of Bobo-Dioulasso, in his free time he also supervises young people in choreographed dance and works as a dyer, which has now become his passion. Convinced of the potential of this profession and that success also depends on passion, Abdoulaye Ouattara cherishes the dream of one day opening a dyeing training center to help his young brothers and sisters in the neighborhood.

Abdoulaye Ouattara is one of those who believe that every experience is good to take away. A true fighter, his qualifications and his versatility allow him to be considered a “people’s company” today. For those close to him, he is a young man who has realized that there is no such thing as a stupid job. According to him, “every job feeds its own person and it just needs to be taken seriously and rigorously”, he says.

Abdoulaye Ouattara in full training of his young brothers next door

Abdoulaye Ouattara is a teacher by training, a master choreographer, a painter, among others. His passion for coloring started when he was in the 4th grade, thanks to one of his aunts. “I learned the basics of the dyer’s craft thanks to my aunt who at that time signed me up with Moumouni Ouédraog (says Moon), who is also a great dyer in town. When she proposed to me, I didn’t hesitate for a second whether to participate in the training. This is how I was able to enter the paint field today,” he said.

A coloring teacher accompanied by students from the neighborhood after the training

According to him, learning was a long process full of difficulties. About eight years is the number of years he spent with Moumouni Ouédraog to improve his skills and to be able to establish himself. He learned this trade during the school holidays because he continued his classes until his senior year. “After the last year, I didn’t go to school anymore. I attended the State School for Primary Teachers privately for two years. At the end of that training, the following year I tried my luck in the competition for civil servants. I was accepted to the ENEP competition. So I went back to school again for two more years of training,” says Abdoulaye Ouattara.

Abdoulaye Ouattara trains the youth at the center

Thus, after four years of education at ENEP in Loumbili, he was able to embrace the profession of teacher. But, he says, it was not easy to combine the work of a teacher and a painter. “In the beginning, it was not easy because I did not want to give up my profession as a painter. It became my passion. To be in public service it was necessary to respect ethics. With the profession of a teacher, of course, holidays are not made for a teacher, but it must be said that in my free time I try to juggle in order to be able to do this job. It is not easy, but we are trying to endure,” he said.

One of the productions of teacher Ouattara

Teacher at the center for informal primary education

It was this passion for coloring that later brought him to the Center for Informal Basic Education (CEBNF) in Boussé as a trainer. Abdoulaye Ouattara was able to show such determination that his inspector, Alexandre Ouédraogo, decided to assign him to this training center. “I am currently a teacher at the center for non-formal primary education (CBNEF). We train children in trades there. I am also assigned to this center as a painter. This means that today I am seen more in the trade of a painter than a teacher. It was not easy at first, especially with the students. We have a theoretical and practical phase for their training. In theory, we teach them how to mix colors and show them different fabrics that can be tinted, especially bazin, simple fabrics, silk, etc. Then we move on to practice,” he explains.

Abdoulaye Ouattara in the middle of a lecture with his students

In the last few years, Abdoulaye Ouattara has been able to develop his skills by creating new designs on all supports, especially on base or on different qualities of fabric for national or international events. For its part, every profession that is taken seriously feeds its man. “It is a matter of organization,” he added. Abdoulaye Ouattara supports this thought, saying that “if you are not born with a golden spoon in the waste, you must work so that at least your posterity benefits from it”. Hence his hard work.

Koko-donda productions

Job requirements and difficulties

According to him, the painting job also has its own requirements and difficulties. “First you have to know that the products we use are much more toxic. This is how we protect ourselves so that these products do not cause us problems in the long term. As a result, we also try to protect the population by preventing them from coming into contact with our wastewater. In the absence of funds, we have a site problem to work on. Whoever talks about a construction site is talking about a well-arranged corner for doing work. Also, we are faced with the problem of counterfeits. Whenever we create, there are always people who find ways to imitate. Later, they return it to us at a lower price, and that lowers our prices,” he complained.

Making teacher’s koko-donda fabric

In addition, Abdoulaye Ouattara says he has plans for the future. Indeed, our teacher aims to open a dyeing training center in Bobo-Dioulasso, to help, according to him, the brothers and sisters of the neighborhood who want to learn this craft. “I would very much like to open this center one day so that we can train young people. Currently, people see more public service. Admittedly, public service is like a shelter, but if you manage to do a few things with your fingers, even better. There is nothing like it,” he convinced himself.

However, he appeals to all young people who want to learn this trade not to hesitate because, he says, “I am open to everything”.

In his free time, he also accompanies choreographed dance, especially of his students during fun events (cultural evenings). Also, he is asked for choreographies during wedding ceremonies.

Romuald Dauphin

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