Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 7 - Production at Djigui and a visit to Kabeela

Following Séraphine’s invitation to join the ladies in the production room, Week 6 began bright and early on Monday morning. Kerri and Sophie made it to Djigui at 6am, only to find the place deserted. By 7.30am, the first women were filing in, one of whom would, half an hour later, inform us that Monday was, in fact, not a production day.

Once we retired to the kiosk, comforted by mugs of ‘Lipton’ and ‘Nescafé’ (brands appear to hold much more weight than the products themselves here), things began to look up. Monday was without doubt the kiosk’s best day since we arrived, with an almost constant flow of customers - all of whom made the most of the table and chairs which we bought with the money raised from our Come Dine With Me fundraising event! Unsurprisingly, the kiosk attracts more customers when people are seated outside it, so we’ll be spending much more time doing our work there as opposed to in the office.

As for Lunch, our makeshift rice salad (apparently lettuce is out of season, so we improvised), proved unusually popular with our meat-loving colleagues! Eloire, Djigui’s driver, also delivered a tokan order to one of Ouaga’s (few) vegetarian restaurants, following our meeting with its owner last week.

Tuesday was a production day, so we donned our wellies and whites and followed the ladies’ lead. 
Bottles were twice-washed, soya beans sifted, then poured into the first machine. Soya milk and a flaky soy-based by-product (which Djigui often passes on as horse feed to one of Ouaga’s many stables) were produced within seconds, before the milk was heated, sweetened with vanilla sugar and bottled. 

All the while, Séraphine and Hélène were preparing the tokan; adding vinegar and salt to the crushed soya beans, before processing and finally compressing the mixture into cubes. By the time production had finished, Djigui had a new on-site sauna!


With funding applications and lessons ongoing throughout the week, Wednesday’s football match - Burkina versus Senegal - was a welcome slice of escapism. The friendly took place at the Stade 4 Août (the venue which hosted the Flavour concert which never happened). The atmosphere was electric, with the vuvuzela’s on call well before the 6pm kick-off. It was only in the 56th minute that Pape Kouly Diop of Senegal (whose loyal supporters formed a modest huddle in the stands opposite us) scored the first goal of the match - a blow for Burkina, whose players had missed successive goal opportunities. The game looked decided until the 90th minute, when the homegrown Johanathan Pitroïpa scored, sending the crowd into a congratulatory frenzy. In true Burkinabe style, the crowd celebrated by launching tens of water sachets onto the pitch!


We took the weekend as an opportunity to visit the volunteers of Kabeela in Ziniaré, central Burkina, which proved a welcome escape from the bustle of Ouaga. Located just under 40 km from Ouagadougou, the pace of life there is much slower. Comparatively little traffic makes for cleaner air and a much more rural feel (we’re quite envious of the Kabeela lot, who cycle to work everyday).

We took two 'taxi-motos' to reach Kabeela from Ziniare's central bus depot.

The women at Kabeela craft beautiful jewellery and ornaments, sold at their on-site shop.

At Kabeela, we met Tanti Denise, the president of the association, who gave us a tour of the surrounding area. Funeral preparations were taking place in the yard of one of the households, so we paid our respects to those involved, ensuring that we made the obligatory bow when greeting older members of the community. Minutes later, we noticed group of people filing past and recognised this as part of the traditional mourning process, during which friends and family dress in the clothes of the deceased and mimick their behaviour. It was our first experience of a traditional Burkinabe funeral and one which we won't forget.

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