Concours d'admission à la section
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Five graduates of the École Primaire Supérieur de Bamako were allowed to test for entrance into the railroad professional course. The test was administered by French officials named Marchi, Letin, Morot and Lhez.
There are "Certificat d'Identité Tenant Lieu d'Acte de Naissance" for each candidate.
|Last name||First name||Approx. birth date||Birth place||Parents' residence||Ranking|
Each file contains the "Certificat d'Identité," a "Certificat Medical," a letter requesting permission from the Gouverneur du Soudan Français to take the examination, and compositions written as part of the examination. The test areas were Orthographé, Géographie, Français, et Calcul (handwriting, geography, French and arithmetic).
The instruction for the French composition examination was "Decrivez l'arrivée d'un train en gare de Bamako" (Describe the arrival of a train at the Bamako station).
Suddenly, in the distance, they hear a long whistle. "Avec une rapidité prodigeuse et surprenante, une longue serie de wagons interminables entrainés par un grosse machine qui vomit la fumée s'elance vers nous" (With surpising speed, a long series of rail cars pulled by a large engine which vomits smoke rushes towards us.) After the train halts, people appear everywhere with their baggage. There are constant cries for "manoeuvre, manoeuvre" to come handle baggage. Within a few minutes, all of this activity raises a large column of dust, but the station empties quickly and calm is restored. The essay concludes "L'arrivée de l'Express est trés agréable … Bamako" (The arrival of the Express is very agreeable in Bamako.)
The engineer blows the whistle while the fireman brakes. Once the train halts, the passengers quickly leave the train and shake hands with their parents who have come to greet them. Then everyone pushes out of the station "comme un troupeau de moutons qui part pour le prairie" (like a herd of sheep headed towards the prairie.) Quickly, the station empties. The police and gendarmes push everyone out.
After things calm down, the locomotive emits black smoke from the smokestack and pulls off to the depot, leaving the rest of the train behind. It smells of oil. Laborers bustle about, unloading the freight and sweating in the hot sun."
NOTE: In his geography essay, N'Diaye mentioned the Segou- Bani Railroad.
We see the well-lit train compartments, with passengers looking out the window. At the station, the conductor blows his horn, the whistle blows and it comes to a halt. People greet passengers. There is a lot of noise - people calling names, calling for porters, etc. A ticket collector ("precepteur") collects tickets from passengers as they leave. In 15 minutes, the station starts to empty.