Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Weeks 5 & 6: Festigrillin'

Over the weekend of our fifth week we spent a lot of time at the Institute Francais - a French cultural centre where we browsed the art exhibitions and library and attended a ‘Ouaga Hip Hop’ night in the beautiful open air theatre space. On Saturday Rowan, Ailsa and Laura went down town to do some bargain hunting at the Grand Marche, a huge concrete structure with hundreds of tiny stalls inside. Whilst Lewis visited the artisan village on the outskirts of Ouaga. I think I can safely say that bargains were had by all.

Week 5 began with long power cuts and for two days there was no water in the whole area. But despite the ominous start we had a very productive week, with great developments made on the child sponsorship scheme, updating the website, developing a social media strategy and researching corporate fundraising. After much searching, we finally found a convenient alternative to Western Union for transferring money internationally - Azimo - hurrah!

Val, Mme Toe and Ives feasting on some lunchtime tokan brochettes 
Wednesday was a particularly good day as we received a generous donation and finally reached our fundraising target of £750 for the Djigui kiosk! Everyone is very pleased that we can now move forward with the idea and hopefully get the kiosk planned and built in the coming weeks.

Kiosk Totaliser - we did it!

We’ve also been busy experimenting in the kitchen with new recipe ideas for the tokan (extra firm tofu), and the results are, quite simply, delicious. We brought some samples in to the office and everyone seemed to like the various patties, burgers and sausages. With a little flavour adjustment and the addition of the ever-popular Maggi seasoning, Madame Toe thinks they will be ready to sell at the kiosk and for showcasing at future food fairs.

Our assortment of dubious looking delicacies

The english and french language exchange between the international and national volunteers has continued on an informal ad hoc basis, and Béa popped over for dinner one evening to try our ‘english food’ - salad and pasta - and to teach us some more French vocab.

Friday afternoon saw Béa leading the 4th of her HIV workshops with 13 of the association members. The session mainly centred around the importance of contraception and there was a lot of good humour, laughter and open discussion, which created a very enjoyable learning environment.

Bea running her HIV workshop
Our weekly meeting was held a little later than usual and covered a lot of big, broad topics, but the conversation was constructive and we set out a strong (and ambitious!) plan for the coming weeks. We’re going to try to fix a date for an open day event; to invite friends and contacts to take a closer look at what goes on at Djigui. With any luck it can coincide with the opening of the kiosk and we’ll be able to show off tasty Djigui food to a big audience.

Rowan spent the weekend in the peaceful village of Ziniaré with the Kabeela team, cycling around, tasting the delicious street food, visiting the cultural festival and dancing. On Saturday Ailsa, Laura and Lewis visited Koudougou, a town two hours drive west from Ouaga, where they visited the Grand Mosque, witnessed giant dust tornados, and browsed the beautiful market. Described in our guidebook as the ‘Covent Garden’ of Burkina, the lovely red brick domed structure didn’t disappoint; full of jovial stall holders selling fabrics, home wares, mountains of fruits and vegetables and baskets of fragrant spices.

Dust Tornadoes in koudougou 
Beautiful koudougou market

This week, our 6th week of the project, has been largely dominated by Festigrill, a (can you guess?) festival to celebrate the wonderful world of grilled food here in Ouaga! This is Djigui’s second consecutive year at the event and everyone was really excited to be a part of it. It is a great opportunity to promote the association and its products, and to sell lots and lots and lots of brochettes.  

Our beautiful stall
Djigui was the only wholly vegetarian stand at the event out of over fifty sellers. After winning fourth prize last year, we all had high hopes, but unfortunately there was lots of tough competition and we didn’t manage to place.

Thanks to the IS programme manager Ross, we had a brand new wooden sign to use on our stall, which Ailsa helped paint Djigui brand green. At the opening day we all arrived early and helped to set up the stand and handed out flyers to prospective customers.

Rowan, Seraphine & Béa at Festigrill

There was a great atmosphere with plenty of live music, speeches and dancing. Each night the festival really came alive, with thousands of people gathering amidst the smoky stalls to sample the amazing range of grilled delights. Béa, Eveline and Seraphine manned the stall each day, which included many late nights, and by day 6 everyone was pretty tired – having sold over 2,000 tokan brochettes we’re not surprised!! We all had a great time helping out at the stall and exploring Festigrill itself – it has made us really excited for the next festival, Jaal, at the end of November.


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