Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Penultimate and final weeks at Djigui

Nine weeks on and the countdown to our departure begins. This week, Djigui has hosted a number of training sessions, led by representatives from Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Environment. Over thirty men and women have been learning about different ways of producing soya milk and tofu derivatives, many of which, to our surprise, can be produced at home relatively easily. Aside from attending a tutorial in the production room, we’ve spent most days working outside the kiosk, as the office has been occupied.

This week has been all about debriefing, handovers and preparing for our final few days’ worth of activities. While it may not be the most thrilling part of our work, it’s important that everything is in place for the next cohort to continue where we left off. It’s also useful for International Service, in that our feedback contributes to the development of the organisation’s future programmes.

We’ve also been putting together a video summary of our work, which will be shown at the ‘cultural day,’ in our final week. This will be useful not only in sharing our activities with the volunteers from IS’ other partner organisations, but also as a means of evaluating our achievements here.  

Formalities aside, we were truly touched when Séraphine, Hélène, Bintou and Sophie put together a last supper for us and the other women. A feast of tokan salad (our meal of choice at the kiosk), rice and tokan tomato sauce kept us going well into the evening, while Madame Toe presented us each with a wooden tableau to commemorate our placement at Djigui.

Sophie and Kerri with the women of Djigui Espoir.

It feels strange to already be rounding things up. We’ve got to know the women, slotted into the daily working routine and consumed a lifetime’s worth of soya (there’ll always be room for more!). We certainly have mixed feelings about leaving, which William summed up well:

Après trois mois de travail, nous sommes à la fin d’un placement et nous sommes animés quelque part par un sentiment de joie et de l’autre par de la tristesse. Cela parce que pendant ces trois mois nous avons appris à nous connaitre, à travailler en équipe et surtout à aider du mieux qu’on peut les femmes de Djigui Espoir. Triste, parce que nous devons nous quitter. Mais ce n’est qu’un aurevoir, pas des adieux, parce que nous gardons espoir et conviction que nous nous reverrons un jour, Insha’Allah.
Surtout longue vie au programme ICS qui permet cet échange culturel et d’aider les femmes en situation d’handicap!


After three months of work, we’re both happy and sad to have come to the end of the placement. Happy, because we’ve come to know each other well, to work as a team and, above all, to support the women of Djigui Espoir for the better. Sad, because we’re now having to part ways. But, rather than saying our goodbyes, we look forward to coming back one day. We hope that the ICS programme continues, both because of the importance of cultural exchange and also to further the cause of disabled women in Burkina!

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