“Mama Tenga” book review by danish friends

Reviewed by Anja and Jeppe Lau Roelsgaard from danmark, who have visited Burkina Faso and, among others, Katrin Rohde in connection with the adoption of the son Laust Brice:

Katrin kidsIn connection with our adoption process, we became aware of the book Mama Tenga by Katrin Rohde describing the start-up of the AMPO project and its background. We have read the book in order to come to understand the social conditions in Burkina Faso and get to know the DNA and soul of the country. Together with the information that was given to us by the writer Thyge Christensen and Jørgen Olsen (GtU), the book prepared us for the encounter with the country and its population, and not least our son and his foster family. In this connection, we also ought to mention the then country councillor for Burkina Faso within the former AC Children Aid, now Danish International Adoption, Jette Würtz. She managed to convey the country and its population in an excellent manner.

The book Mama Tenga is a marvellously well-written and well-organised book which, at the same time, describes a fantastic country, a fantastic people, a fantastic person and, not least, a fantastic project still in progress. More about this later. The book allows us join Katrin Rohde on her journey from the hard-working business owner in Northern Germany to the no less hard-working Mama Tenga in Burkina Faso. It describes her thoughts and actions during the journey, which is long (both in terms of distance and mentally), and through which God guided her (her own words).

The first part of the book describes the exact experiences and thoughts that lead Katrin Rohde to become Mama Tenga. The remaining part of the book is about the foundation of the project and, not least, the development within the domains that strikes you   the most within the bureaucratic system, that is the Ministries and the public administration, where seeing to a case is not a metaphor, but one man’s job. Once approvals, permissions and the financing is in place, the hard work of projecting and performing the construction work begins. Here as well, there are pitfalls, where Western kindness towards the poor artisans may end up in lack of respect and a careless, expensive and slowly advancing piece of work. Furthermore, she describes the issues concerning the pedagogical work with the children who have lead a difficult life at the street, and who may already have become familiar with psychedelic drugs or other substance abuse, criminality, prostitution etc. before joining AMPO. With these children, the quick rush and its short-termed joy may still be a temptation hard to resist.

In the book, she also describes the children’s everyday life and celebrations…a soft drink to share may be cause for celebration…and we have a lot to learn from this. Moreover, when reading the book, you notice how the people of Burkina Faso live peacefully side-by-side, despite of many different religions. The world has a lesson to learn from this. During our journey, we were told about families in which some of the family members were Muslims and some were Christians.

On our way to Burkina Faso to pick up our son, we coincidentally ran into Katrin Rohde at the local pizzeria together with our contact person. We were invited to visit AMPO and Katrin Rohde. During this visit, we were given a tour in the boys’ section and were told about the everyday life of the children and the young people living at AMPO.

Besides the boys’ section, there is an equivalent girls’ section as well as a home for pregnant girls in need of a place to give birth to the child, and subsequently receive support and guidance in order to become able to fend for themselves prospectively. The children can live at AMPO until they turn 18. At this age, they leave the boys’ or girls’ home. However, they still keep contact until they are able to take care of themselves. We saw a project which, after 20 years, is still in progress with many new things coming up, i.e. a place to eat for westerners and shops, where the newly qualified artisans, previously living at AMPO, could sell their products. In particular, we noticed the well-arranged buildings that had been constructed with a view to protect against the sun and the huge amounts of rain during the rainy season. For example, they were built with overhangs. The buildings were spacious and the decoration was practical.

mamatenga-ebook-enDuring this visit, we met a fantastic woman who saw the good and the amazing in each child – no one is better than the other – and a fantastic staff. Furthermore, we had the pleasure of meeting a young German couple, who worked as volunteers at AMPO. Later in their life, they would adopt a child from Burkina Faso themselves. We left AMPO with an amazingly good feeling. If only there were more like passionate souls as Katrin Rohde…

E-Book: Mama Tenga – My African Life

Contains a picture gallery which shows everyday life at AMPO and the African country Burkina Faso.
format: ePub und mobipocket
ISBN: 978-3-89567-031-2 (ePub) und 978-3-89567-032-9 (mobipocket)
Price: EUR 4,99 / USD 5,99
Publisher: Nieswand Verlag
Published: december 2012

Download a reading sample:
Mama Tenga – chapter 6: Ouagadougou, one way (PDF: 0,6 MB)

E-Book available at:

AmazonAppleBarnes & Noble

 In 2010, a Danish AMPO Friend Association has been established: AMPO Danmark ⇑