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U.S. Department of State
96/10/08 Remarks at Semaya Peace Corps Village, Mali
Office of the Spokesman

                     U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                      Office of the Spokesman
                             Bamako, Mali
For Immediate Release                              October 8, 1996 


                              Semaya Village
                               Bamako, Mali
                              October 8, 1996

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good afternoon and thank you for such a warm 
greeting.  There have been a number of times when Peace Corps volunteers 
would come wherever I was and I would have a chance to greet them, but 
this is the first time I've gone out to a Peace Corps village;  I must 
say it's exciting, it's thrilling.

I want to thank the Chief of Semaya for hosting me; Foreign Minister 
Traore, for his being here; and also Peace Corps Country Director Brad 
Favor for being here.  I'm very grateful to the people of Semaya for 
hosting this Peace Corps group and making them all feel so welcome.  I 
must say, a lot of Americans would be very proud if they could see you -
- Peace Corps volunteers -- performing the things you do virtually at no 
cost to the people of the area, yet providing some real value.  Planting 
trees, making trees better by various technology they bring, including 
the quality of water, it really is terrific.

You know, for 25 years, the people of Mali and the Peace Corps have been 
partners in helping to preserve this nation's natural resources and 
making them more accessible.  This is the largest Peace Corps contingent 
in all of Africa and isn't it wonderful to see it in action.

This puts quite a premium on me to be brief, doesn't it? (Joking about 
double translation into French and Bambara.) 

I've said many times that all the nations of the world share a 
responsibility to manage the environment wisely.  I've tried to 
emphasize the environment as a core part of American foreign policy.  
You have a beautiful proverb in this country that captures this 
sentiment.  It goes like this: "Each tree has its purpose."  

The people of Mali, the people of this village and the people of the 
United States have a common purpose in fighting the encroachment of the 
desert; in fighting the depletion of the forest and trying to prevent 
the extinction of species.  Problems that are all too well known in the 
Sahel, and work to prevent those problems, to overcome them, begins in 
villages like this.

As part of the water project that I've seen today, Malians and Americans 
are working together to try to construct wells and keep drainage from 
polluting them.  The well that I just saw over there, I'm told, is 40 
meters deep and the water that reaches is pure and clean.  The main 
thing, in the future, is to keep it from being polluted  and to make it 
available to the people of the area.

Everybody here knows how important it is to improve the quality of 
drinking water.  It helps farmers to produce more, cuts down on water-
borne diseases, and reduces the number of breeding places for 
mosquitoes.  It's just one of the most important things we can do.

The Peace Corps soil conservation project helps in the ever and never-
ending struggle against the expanding desert.  That is a struggle that 
is worth fighting and the Peace Corps is doing it by helping villagers 
plant trees, building rock walls against soil diversion and improving 
mud stoves so that less wood is burned and wasted.

Every one of these projects is a real hands-ontraining in democracy as 
the Peace Corps volunteers and the residents of the village work 
together to try to solve common problems.

Let me give you an example of the Peace Corps' contribution in the 
person of Jamie Shambaugh, who's helping me here today in walking me 
through this.  Jamie discovered that Mali's Bafing Makana Park existed 
only on paper.  It was a paper park.  He decided something had to be 
done about that to protect the area's threatened species.  He helped  
raised the local awareness about the fact that is was a park only on 
paper, and the community developed a plan of action.

Having been alerted by Jamie, the local government, the NGOs, and donors 
are now cooperating to establish the boundaries of the park and to make 
the people who live nearby aware of what they have here and aware of the 
importance of biodiversity.

The young women I saw planting trees and grafting trees, the men I saw 
working on the water project, all of them are doing a terrific job and I 
ask you to join me in giving them a hand. (Applause)

The kinds of programs we witnessed today are illustrations of programs 
that have made President Clinton and myself determined to preserve the 
Peace Corps, which is one of John F. Kennedy's legacies.  This kind of 
program, and these kinds of programs, are possible because Mali is a 
democracy that listens to its people.  It also cares about its people's 
needs and provides a wonderful host to our Peace Corps programs, so I 
thank the people of Mali and their government for being so generous in 
hosting the Peace Corps and giving us a chance to work in the area and 
serve. (Applause)

Let us all work together to make Mali become an even stronger and more 
prosperous democracy. The kind of country that can avert the 
humanitarian tragedies that have befallen so many of its neighbors.  
I can't leave without thanking those who provided the music, the drums 
and particularly all of you for turning out to greet me to give me a 
real sense of how it is to live in a village and also showing me what we 
can possibly do to be helpful.

I hope to come back someday when those mango trees are bearing fruit and 
I can see the other results of your labors.  (Applause)

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