Saturday, January 28, 2017

Our First Week



(Due to limited internet access we are posting this later than planned!) 

Hi everyone! Despite the UK volunteers landing on Wednesday (11th January), it was not until the following Tuesday that our team became complete. We have survived hospitalisation, a chest infection and the fact that two of our number failed to emerge, leading to two very last minute, but much appreciated, recruits; but we are finally together and cannot wait to start!  

UGF/CDN is an association of women’s groups, based in Réo, which aims to improve women’s economic and social independence from men, in the Sanguié province of Burkina Faso. It fights for women’s rights, in areas such as health, education, literacy, sanitation and gender equity. Much of their work centres around the production of shea butter, as it is abundant in the area and, therefore, can provide women with a proper income, aiding them in their financial independence.

After three, somewhat long, days of training, we arrived in Réo on Sunday and we were very excited to meet our host families. We received a very warm welcome from all and it was brilliant to be surrounded by so many children and animals. I was joined by a chick for my first bucket shower, but felt this very much added to the experience! However, I was rather surprised the next morning to see my “dad” driving the UGF/CDN car!

On the Monday we arrived at UGF/CDN for the first time and met the staff. We had a tour of the site and wherever we went we were met with smiles. We saw the various stages of the shea butter production, the lovely garden and the pig pen, which was made by one of the previous cohorts. The next day was focused on meeting the key establishments in Réo. We were introduced to the police, the Mayor and finally the military. However, this required a great deal of cycling. We were so tired after this, we literally crashed out in the office afterwards-Burkinabes and British alike! On Wednesday, our working day ended by meeting the chief of Réo, a very important figure. However, he was not at all intimidating and welcomed us to the area.

We have ambitious plans for the next three months. We want to continue with awareness raising sessions; introduce a new product to really help UGF/CDN capitalise on their resources; give lessons in English, French and ICT and also organise sessions in leadership, with the hope that this will give staff members here the confidence to take the lead on the initiatives we introduce (to give them longevity, way past the 12 weeks we are here) and also to act on their own great ideas.

The people in our team may be very different: the British are sweltering in the heat, whilst the Burkinabes complain of the cold; the British are easily distinguishable by the strong stench of 50% deet insect repellent and the Burkinabes are characterised by their far more relaxed approach to life, but we are all united in our aims and that makes us a very strong team indeed.

Please keep reading for the next 8 weeks, to keep updated with our progress and ICS experience!

Written by Tabitha


(Pour des raisons de difficulte de connection nous publions un peu plus tard que prevu..)

Bonjour à tous!
Malgré que les volontaires britanniques ont atterris depuis le Mercredi 11/01/2017, notre équipe n’a finalement été complète que le Mardi 17/01/2017 à cause d’une britannique qui était malade. Ainsi à partir de ce moment on était plus content et plus motiver de commencer le travail.

Apres 3 jours de formation au 2ie  à Kamboinssin(Ouagadougou), nous sommes arrivés à Reo aux environs de Midi le dimanche et nous étions tous excité de rencontrer nos différentes familles d’accueil. Tabitha était très surprise de voir le lendemain que c’est son tuteur qui était le chauffeur de l’association et moi de voir que le mien est le coordonnateur de l’association! Nous avons ainsi été reçu très chaleureusement dans chaque famille tout en étant très surpris d’être entourer par autant d’enfants et d’animaux à la fois.
Le lundi matin, nous sommes  arrivés pour la première fois dans l’association d’UGF/CDN, après une brève présentation du personnel, nous avons continué avec la visite du site. Durant toute la visite, partout où nous sommes arrivés, nous avons été reçu avec le sourire.

Ainsi on a vu les différentes étapes de production du beurre de karité, le merveilleux jardin ainsi que leur élevage de porc qui fut instauré par une des cohortes précédentes.
Le lendemain à consister principalement en la visite des différentes autorités locales qui sont respectivement la police, la mairie et la gendarmerie.

Nos différents objectifs à travers les différentes activités que nous allons faire durant nos 03 mois de placement sont entre autre la poursuite des sessions de sensibilisations déjà entrepris par la cohorte précédente, introduire de nouveaux produits de vente,  et enfin poursuivre les différentes formations en cours d’anglais ,français , en informatique ,en management, en decoration et bien d’autres.

Nous notons jusqu'à présent certains paradoxes: pendant que les Britanniques se plaignent de chaleur, les Burkinabès eux se plaignent de trop de fraicheur (lol), ce qui montre à quel point les gens sont différents !

Ecrit par Mariama

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