SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Aly Oury

Aly is a small town in Senegal on the left bank of the Senegal river 39 km downstream from Matam in the Daande Maayo area. It had a population of a population of 1,651 according to the 2002 census. Aly Oury is part of the rural community of Bokidiawé in the district of Ogo in the heart of Matam department. Aly Oury has over 2,500 inhabitants; these are Haalpulaar'en with a minority of Wolof. The population is predominantly female, they are Muslim. Like most villages in the Fouta, Aly Oury is an area of high emigration with the main destinations being: Dakar region, Casamance natural region and Central Africa, Western Europe, the United States; the closest towns to Aly Oury are Dondou and Diowol Worgo to the north and Sadel to the South. Due to its geographical position, Aly Oury a Sahelian climate characterized by: hot dry continental trade winds or harmattans low and erratic rainfall with a rainy season from July to September and a dry season from October to June high temperaturesHowever, the specific hydrological and soil conditions in Aly Oury make it a natural location for irrigated crops.

Irrigated agriculture, which accounts for nearly 90% of the labour force, remains by far the major socio-economic activity with rice as a lever for local agricultural development. Since the 1970s the village has operated irrigated areas developed by the SAED; the town benefited during the first phase of the Project for Agricultural Development of Matam through a development of 200 hectares. However, the high cost of inputs, the lack of storage facilities, transport problems, the isolation of the area limited agricultural production despite the enormous potential available to the town. Inland fishing activity remains rooted in tradition. However, the scarcity of fish and outdated means of production have led to a worrying decline in catches in recent years; this situation has led many fishermen to convert to other income-generating activities. The extensive grazing activities is, considering the austere nature of the environment, the main production system. Supply of animal feed during the period from March to July is, in this semi-desert area, the main constraint to livestock development.

Conflicts between farmers and herders are rare and cattle theft non-existent. Revenue from the sale of livestock remains, for many families, a substantial source of income; the trade that has developed is led by the Wolof minority who settled there. However, a few indigenous people women, are investing more this niche; as with most of the villages of Fouta, Islamic education is securely anchored. There is a French school which opened in 1961; the first headmaster was Ladji Diarra. Today it has twelve classes with a staff of 14 teachers. In October 2010, the director was Aboubacry Dia. Among those who have been associated with the school are Momar Ndjim Cissé, current president of the National Association of Parents of students in Senegal, Pape Moctar Sow, Doudou Wade, Malick Camara. However, due to some socio-cultural values, despite the efforts made in recent years, the involvement of communities in the management of the school is marginal. Access for girls to school is improving more and more but early marriages are a real obstacle to their continuance.

Aly Oury has two elementary schools. In addition, the village has a madrasa - Islamic school education - with significant numbers of students. Functional literacy is present with women as the main target; the practice of female genital mutilation, the lack of a health staff as well as non-compliance with prenatal visits during pregnancy because of the lack of maternity care for deliveries pose a major risk to the mother and the newborn. This explains the high rate of child mortality seen in the town. Malaria, the main reason for consultation, is rampant among pregnant women and children less than five years old, it should be noted the increase in diarrheal diseases due to the inaccessibility of drinking water for the majority of the population. In recent years, EJA could finance the health nurse; the lack of support and advice structures and poor access to microcredit and factors of production are the main constraints on the Group for Advancement of Women created in 1981. Despite these numerous constraints, Aly Oury has enormous potential, the most important being undoubtedly the willingness of youth to improve the living conditions of the population.

This desire came to fruition in 1978 with the creation of the League of Youth of Aly Oury, recognized in 1987. However, the League has not met expectations in terms of development, lack of committed partners and consequent lack of financial resources. However, it has participated in many cultural and sporting activities making Aly Oury a reference point in the "Daande Maayo" area

Yuba County Five

The Yuba County Five were young men from Yuba City, United States, all with mild mental or psychiatric issues, who attended a college basketball game at California State University, Chico on the night of February 24, 1978. Afterwards, they stopped at a local market for drinks. Four of them—Bill Sterling, 29. Several days their Mercury Montego was found, abandoned, in a remote area of Plumas National Forest on a high mountain dirt road, far out of their way back to Yuba City. Investigators could not, determine why it was abandoned as it could have been pushed out of the snowpack it was in, was in good working order. At that time, no trace of the men was found. After the snow melted, in June, four of the men's bodies were found, in and near a trailer camp used by backpackers as shelter deep in the forest, 20 miles from the car. Only bones were left of the three bodies in the woods, a result of scavenging animals, but the one in the trailer, Ted Weiher, had lived for as long as three months after the men were last seen, starving to death despite an ample supply of food and heating materials available in it.

He was missing his shoes, investigators found Mathias' own shoes in the nearby woods, suggesting Mathias, survived for some time beyond the last night they were seen alive. A witness came forward, a local man who said he had spent the same night in his own car a short distance away from where the Montego was found, after suffering a mild heart attack trying to push it out of the snow, he told police that he had seen and heard people around the car that night, twice called for help, only for them to grow silent and turn off their flashlights. This, the considerable distance from the car to where the bodies were found, has led to suspicions of foul play. During his Army service in West Germany in the early 1970s, Gary Mathias, a Yuba City native, had developed drug problems; these led to his being diagnosed with schizophrenia and being psychiatrically discharged. He began treatment at a local mental hospital. While it had been difficult at first—he was nearly arrested for assault twice and suffered psychotic episodes that landed him in a local Veterans Administration hospital—by 1978 he was being treated on an outpatient basis with Stelazine and Cogentin and was considered by his physicians to be "one of our sterling success cases."Mathias supplemented his Army disability pay by working in his stepfather's gardening business.

Off the job, outside of his family, he was close friends with four other men, most older than he, who either had slight intellectual disabilities or were informally considered "slow learners" and who lived either in Yuba City or nearby Marysville. Like him they lived with their parents, all of whom referred to them collectively as "the boys"; the five men's favorite leisure activity was sports. Their families said that when they got together, it was to play a game or to watch one, they played basketball together as the Gateway Gators, a team sponsored by a local program for the mentally handicapped. On February 25, the Gators were due to play their first game in a weeklong tournament sponsored by the Special Olympics for which the winners would get a free week in Los Angeles; the five men had prepared the night before, some laying out their uniforms and asking parents to wake them up on time. They decided to drive to Chico that night to cheer on the UC Davis basketball team in an away game against Chico State.

Madruga, the only member of the group besides Mathias who had a driver's license, drove the group 50 miles north to Chico in his turquoise and white 1969 Mercury Montego. The men wore only light coats against the cool temperatures in the upper Sacramento Valley at night that time of year. After the Davis team won the game, the group got back into Madruga's car and drove a short distance from the Chico State campus to Behr's Market in downtown Chico. There they bought snacks along with cartons of milk to drink, it was shortly before the store's 10 p.m. closing time. None of them were seen alive again after that point. At their homes, some of the men's parents had stayed up to make sure; when morning came and they had not, police were notified. Police in Butte and Yuba counties began searching along the route, they found no sign of them, but a few days a Plumas National Forest ranger told investigators that he had seen the Montego parked along Oroville-Quincy Road in the forest on February 25. At the time he had not considered it significant, since many residents drove up there into the Sierra Nevada on winter weekends to go cross-country skiing on the extensive trail system, but after he read the missing persons bulletin he recognized the car and led the deputies to it on February 28.

Inside the car was evidence suggesting the men had been in it between when they were last seen and when it was abandoned. The wrappers and empty cartons and cans they had purchased in Chico were present, along with programs from the basketball game they had watched and a neatly folded road map of California, but the discovery of the car raised more questions. The first was its location, 70 miles from Chico, far off any direct route to Yuba City or Marysville. None of the men's families could speculate as to why they might have driven up a long and winding dirt road on a winter night deep into a h