Mali: Chaka Dagnoko - 'A Miracle Could Happen At Any Time'

Bamako — Chaka Dagnoko is a mechanic living in Yirimadjo in Commune Six of the Malian capital, Bamako.

"My financial situation isn't stable - it depends on how much work we get during the year. If there are lots of breakdowns then I receive my salary; if not my salary will come in late.

"Since the coup d'état our work has slowed down - markets are much quieter and people have less money to spend.

"I support my brother and also send money to my mother each month so she can run her doughnut business. With my expenses my salary can sometimes be gone in one week. That's my biggest problem - don't ask me how I make ends meet.

"Other months I earn a lot and I eat more. But when I don't earn much I'm very careful about what I eat. I try to take on extra work outside of the garage, and my uncle in the USA sends me money every few months. He has promised to help get me to the States next year to help him run his business.

"I've brought my younger brother down from Sikasso after he was expelled from school, as he was doing nothing. A carpenter friend of mine is teaching him carpentry and he's already earning a bit. Thank God that is working out.

"My biggest expense at the moment is saving up to get married. I don't have any children yet - I wonder how I'd manage when I had children to look after also.

"I should have work here in the future as my boss is involved in building the new airport in Bamako. The funding [Millennium Challenge Account] stopped with the coup d'état but the government has just re-started the project using its own money. That means the boss will pay our salary arrears.

"I haven't had any bad news recently. I pray to God that nothing bad will happen to me.

"In one year who knows what will happen. In any case, I have hope. A miracle could happen at any time, otherwise I don't know how I'll be richer in one year. But God is great and anything could happen."

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