Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 3: Mariages, coupures d'électricité et mobilisation de fonds.

Our second weekend in Burkina Faso started at the wedding of Giselle, where we had an amazing time eating strange and wonderful foods, dancing along to the band, and meeting so many friendly people. We felt  very privileged to be invited to such an important event and to be treated so hospitably.

The 'dancing circle' at the wedding

The welcoming ceremony for the bride.
Rowan jamming with the guys at the wedding.

We have all become reasonably settled in the area where we live and work. There are still the occasional confusing exchanges at the market over the price of eggs, and the shouts of “Nasarah” from the neighbourhood kids will probably always be the soundtrack to our daily walks. But we feel welcome and at ease going about our daily activities.


The weekend was the perfect opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and see more of Ouaga. On Sunday we took a trip to Ouaga's downtown to explore one of Burkina Faso's busiest districts.

Monday saw us having a meeting with Madame Toé to discuss our weekly objectives. It's great to have the opportunity to talk to the founder of Djigui to give us focus and direction for the rest of the week. We’ve had three interesting debates this week, our first session on Monday included ‘Millennium Development Goals are an accurate and comprehensive focus for global development’ and ‘Global exchange and volunteering makes an important contribution to global development’. The debates are a good way of reflecting on the issues that our project should be focusing on, and we all came to a general consensus about development projects and volunteering. The third debate on Wednesday had a more controversial topic: ‘Is global inequality inevitable?’ Our answers went on to discuss wealth and resource distribution, Rowan's general optimistic outlook, the nature of equality, Lewis' vision of a country-less global communist utopia and whether there can ever be equal opportunity. Ives was particularly insightful in his analysis of the political situation in Burkina Faso and the inequality people face here.

The Djigui office

This week we properly begun fundraising for the kiosk, which will hugely benefit Djigui by creating a much needed income stream. We have already reached £410 out of our £750 target! In this initial fundraising stage, we’ve been primarily asking for donations from our friends and family - so we would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has donated so far! Your help will make a big difference to the association. If you would like to help us reach our target, please get in touch via the comments or email us on is.djigui.espoir@gmail.com. Merci!

Our amazing Blue Peter Totalizer

Béatrice, Seraphine and Lewis also went to a meeting with with energy company SpeedTech to talk about lowering Djigui's energy consumption with a view to installing solar panels.

On Thursday we experienced a power cut that lasted most of the day which made work difficult, and also meant the soya production had to be halted and rescheduled. It was a learning experience for us all as we realised how much power cuts can negatively effect progress and effect Djigui's ability to make profit. And we also now appreciate that slow internet is better than no internet! The powercut did not stop the work though, as the office slowly filled up with parents and children waiting to be photographed and interviewed for the child sponsorship scheme Rowan is helping to implement.

We also received the good news that Djigui's place at Festigrill, an annual food festival, has been confirmed. We're really looking forward to it and fingers crossed Djigui will be able to improve on their 4th place success at last years event!

Rowan and Laura have been busy experimenting with tokan! So far using it to make a savoury peanut butter stew and caramel and sesame tokan bites. The tokan bites were delicious with yoghurt and once the recipe is tweaked to perfection we will share it with the women of Djigui to get their opinion.

On Saturday morning the Lions Club (Djigui's primary donor) are coming to visit Djigui HQ. We are looking forward to meeting them and you can expect to see the photos on the next blog.We are also looking forward to watching Burkina Faso vs. Algeria in the World Cup qualifier on Saturday! GO BURKINA! It's been a while since any of us have been to a football match (if ever!) and we can't wait to experience the atmosphere of such an important game. On Sunday we’re hoping to take a day trip to the Bazoule crocodile park with some of the other volunteers.

At times this week has been frustrating and slow but over all it has been very enjoyable. The project objectives have become clearer and we are settling into Burkina life nicely.

Our next blog will be with you in a weeks time (as long as the crocs don't eat us.)

Thanks for reading.

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