Yiboula Emmanuel Bazie was born in Burkina Faso 41 years ago and considers himself another Soriano. Residing in Quintana Redonda (480 inhabitants) offers you luxuries such as strolling through vast pine forests, picking mushrooms in autumn or swelling yourself to torreznos, although there is something you miss eating: the crocodile. "It's great," he licks his lips, and explains the complex hunt of the saurian and the ways to cook it. Unfortunately, this menacing reptile is rare in the area, although he acknowledges that he would hardly have time to try to catch bicharracos of that caliber. His schedule only includes five hours of sleep a day. Bazie combines his work as a forest firefighter with unpaid work as a socialist councilor of Tajahuerce (26 neighbors, where he is registered) and a work that has earned him UN recognition: helping the integration of migrants."My pact with life is to help," he sums up.
The only time he does not invest in work or in his altruistic pursuits is spent with his partner, Olga Gancedo, and the unruly Samuel Yipoa, his son. The boy, a Soriano by birth with African and Leonese blood, is on his way to turning one year old, but he is so awake and developed that it would not be surprising if he suddenly started running in search of adventure. The little boy observes with big black eyes the story of his father, who shows the photos that illustrate his life while he watches the kicking of his offspring. The story of the Burkinabe begins with a family of eight children who did not suffer from the poverty of their country. He was able to study and develop with some comfort - something rare in the land where he was born - until in 1999 the civil war in Côte d'Ivoire shook his region,and decided to abandon his training in Franco-African philology to assist the weakest. The scenes, this Christian believer remembers with regret, were gruesome. People suffered the wounds of the conflict. The easiest to cure were the external ones. The inmates, aggravated by pain, drugs and hunger, needed "humanism", a concept that Yiboula Emmanuel Bazie repeats like a mantra.
Bazie walks through the town where he resides, Quintana Redonda. He wears a Burkina Faso shirt that is usually worn on special occasions.Daniel Ochoa de Olza
His commitment to those in need led to his connection to Spain. "It was my destiny," says this exemplary neighbor who, while strolling through Quintana Redonda, greets each other, delighted with his willingness to collaborate, either in everyday things, such as helping out in a homemade fudge or in the garden, or in major issues, such as providing food to people without resources. Bazie collaborated with the Spanish Remar association since 2001, traveling through multiple nations of his home continent thanks to his command of six African and three European languages, and thus he met retired Spanish military personnel who were developing solidarity actions. They offered to go to Europe. He did not hesitate and, as he relates,After a process plagued with betrayals of partners and death threats while trying to get visas to travel, he landed in Madrid at the end of 2004. He then got on an ALSA bus. The bus took him to León, where he would be welcomed while he relocated. “It was cold!” Exclaims the Burkinabe, as if he still felt the coldness on his skin, remembering that path through the snow that he had only seen on an excursion to Mount Kilimanjaro.
His adventures in Spain have been marked by extreme temperatures: the harsh winters of León and Soria, a province where he has been living for five years for work reasons, contrast with the fire he fights as a forest firefighter. The reception, he says, was "perfect", and he even takes care of the garden that the mayor's parents gave him. The Burkinabe describes his work in the brigades in a forest near his home, with training sessions consisting of carrying out routes with heavy backpacks, rehearsing the performance in front of the flames and, in short, “always being available” when it is his turn. Nothing new, however, as he jokes that in addition to being a firefighter he is a second profession fire extinguisher. Your phone keeps receiving calls and messages from people asking for support.The best way to chat with him for a while is to accompany him, trying to disturb him as little as possible while he performs his various tasks.
Bazie rushes to grab food from a warehouse in Quintana Redonda, in coordination with the local food bank, before hopping into his modest utility vehicle and heading to the town of El Royo, about a 40-minute drive along the winding roads. of Soria.
Bazie loads boxes of milk from the food bank.Daniel Ochoa de Olza
The car's stereo mixes religious music in French with electric rap and some songs by Joaquín Sabina, the favorite Spanish author of Burkina Faso. El Royo hosts one of the initiatives supported by Yiboula Emmanuel Bazie, which assists a group of migrants who have come to work in raspberry plantations. The old houses with stone walls, clothes hanging to air in the sun and roses in the flowerbeds welcome men and women who have an opportunity to integrate and earn some money in this job. Roberth Okenue, a Guinean, and Nuba Hydara, a Gambian, say in front of their house that they do not know who that kind man is who brings them eggs, pasta, rice, vegetables, milk or oil. At the same time, the willful Bazie will remind you in the battered kitchen, where the smell of rice and chicken reigns,that although they do not know each other they are "brothers". They will tell you that they are fitting in well, that they have work and food; In part, of course, thanks to this Samaritan.
With a group of migrants to whom he brought food, Daniel Ochoa de Olza
Bazie is still surprised to talk about how his solidarity work started in Africa and continued in the small towns of Soria has reached the UN, which has appointed him as a world ambassador for peace.
The international organization, happily reckons, has been following their actions with the Burkina Faso collectives for 15 years and has continued to observe with interest their good faith to build bridges between continents.
The award was also received by Josu Gómez, advisor to former US President Barack Obama, and Uria Seheil, president and founder of the Casa de África in Spain.
Between the three of them, they have founded the Euro-African Forum, a system with which they aspire to continue creating ties between the two continents.
The flight of swallows and swifts, these so pleasant to look at in the sky as they are inconvenient when they nest on a windowsill like that of the forest firefighter's own house, marks the passing of the hours and, therefore, signals that Yiboula Emmanuel Bazie still has chores. He is currently studying at a distance a diploma in Municipal Policy and International Cooperation, knowledge that is not even painted for a councilor converted to an international Samaritan, or vice versa. “In this way I have discovered that people have very different needs, and all of them important,” he reflects before returning to a home that he would never have imagined 20 years ago and 6,000 kilometers ago.