Idrissa Ouedraogo’s magical drama tells the story of five -year old Madi who lives with his parents and baby brother in a remote village in Burkina Faso. Walking home with his mother Awa after she’s been collecting wood, Madi finds a turtle dove caught in a trap. He’s about to kill it, to put it out of its suffering, when the dove speaks, telling Madi that if he spares its life, he will come to Madi’s aid whenever he needs it. All he has to do is click his fingers! Accepting the the deal, Madi frees the bird. Later that day, after Salif, Madi’s father has quarrelled with his mother and shouted at Madi for trying to steal eggs from the hen coop because he was hungry, Madi clicks his fingers and summons the turtle dove’s help. From the surrounding desert a band of mounted horsemen gallop in and summon the village. The chief horseman – who is, he tells Madi, the turtle dove – berates the village men for neglecting their families. ‘Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves’, he demands of them, for letting their wives do all the work, walking for hours each day to fetch water, looking after the children. Didn’t their ancestors used to dig wells with their bare arms, he asks them. Cowed by his rage, Salif and the other men set about digging a new well and fitting it with a water pump. While the men are digging, the horseman assembles the children to tell them how nutritious eggs are for their growth, and organizes a feast of boiled eggs. Meanwhile, with the new water supply, the village has planted a flourishing communal garden of cabbages and greens – promising a still more varied diet for the children. As the horsemen take their leave of a grateful village, Madi clicks his fingers one more time – and the radio then reports that, following protests far away in the capital, the government has announced a complete change of heart, introducing new policies to help improve the lives of all people living in rural areas.
Produced and directed: Idrissa Ouédraogo