Monday, September 23, 2013

Week of the 2nd of September - by Emily Rek

This week, for me, has been a week of wrapping up loose ends, ready for the arrival of the next volunteers. After over two months of research on Fairtrade, I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge about the specific conditions that need to be met and intricate process that is involved. Although we are unable to pursue this yet for a few reasons, including needing the sterilizing machine to be up and running and also how the soya beans are sourced, it is something worth considering in the future. Therefore, to pass on knowledge to future volunteers, I’ve been writing a handbook starting from the basics. I’ve written it in a way that is easy to understand and concisely, because personally I’ve found how the sheer amount of information available on the site quite overwhelming and organised in a way that can leave one easily confused. I’ve also noted down all the organisations I have contacted regarding funds and the shops I’ve written to in both England and France about whether they’d be interested in buying from us. Finally, I’ve collected all the useful drafts of letters that we’ve sent to these organisations and shops so the next volunteers can use them as templates for any future establishments they wish to contact. I’ve translated these letters into French as well, which is useful for a non-francophone!

Hannah has been busy starting on the Comic Relief grant application, because stage one has just been made available. The deadline is on 31st October, so we’re making good time and have a long period to tweak and strengthen our application. She’s also been finishing up on the catalogue and order form. With such a gifted eye for design, she’s been doing a really good job and apparently there have already been rumors of interest amongst Djigui sellers already.

The order form that Hannah is designing will be sent out via e-mail to all the members of Djigui Espoir with a newsletter that Clara spent the week creating. The newsletter consists of a well-written description of events to keep everyone updated on the big occurrences that have happened at Djigui within the last three months. Hopefully, a paper form of the newsletter will be able to be handed out instead, once we’ve got the funds.

Ives has been working on an application for the SEMAFO foundation, where he is promoting Djigui products, so that hopefully schools will be made aware of what kind of goods we sell. Beatrice, on the other hand, had identified new training that the women of Djigui can do at the department of food technology. These courses include how to wash and cook vegetables and rice correctly, how to bake, make jam and biscuits, and how to cook with pasteurized milk. Just generally improve their knowledge in food preparation, but also how to distribute products effectively. The best of all is that these workshops are free of charge!

Regrettably, Michael was ill the majority of this week. He was in the clinic from Monday morning to Wednesday evening, had a day of rest on Thursday and returned like a trooper on Friday. It was just unfortunate that on Friday we spent the majority of the day supporting an open day at Tigoung Nouma, another one of the projects run by International Service, so Michael was not able to be as productive as he would have liked this week.

On Tuesday, the rain of Burkina Faso showed us truly what it was capable of. It started to rain about twenty minutes before we were meant to finish working for the day, and didn’t stop until the rain water entered the actual building two and a half hours later. The sheer power of the rain was astounding; it managed to push a 10 meter container outside of Djigui from the side of the road so that it was blocking the whole road, effectively creating a dam. About twenty or so men came to the rescue and waddled through the water that had already exceeded knee level. Collectively, they were successful in pushing the container back to its original place, allowing the water level to slowly decline. Thankfully, although the water had entered all of the buildings, none of the machinery was permanently damaged, and all mess was cleared up with the help of everyone chipping in the next morning.

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