Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Journey to ‘The land of upright men’

On the 1st of July 2013 I embarked on a journey to Ouagadougou, the uniquely named capital of Burkina Faso, as part of a three month development volunteering placement by International Service.

International Service is an international development organisation that aims to protect and promote the rights of marginalised people. Myself (Aminata Vandy), Danny Stanfield, and Zena Moore will be working with Handicap Solidaire Burkina (HSB), a partner organisation of International Service to help promote disability rights and to challenge widespread discrimination against disability in Burkina Faso.

After travelling for approximately 11 hours through Heathrow airport with twenty one other International Service volunteers, we arrived in ‘the land of upright men’-Burkina Faso, exhausted but anticipating Africa’s heat wave. We were not left disappointed. Inside the capitals small airport we encountered several delays due to Yellow fever vaccination, security, and luggage checks by military looking guards. Exit the airport, we were picked up by various IS team leaders. Our team leader, Dana, a sweet sounding lady with a heart of gold and various other in-county volunteers dropped us off at our accommodation. Dana briefed us on expenditure, HSB, orientation and took us out for a late night dinner.

The week thus far has been more than I could ever imagine. Our orientation week has greatly equipped us thus far in learning to adapt to our new surroundings. The orientation has been predominately centred on French and Moore (local dialect) lessons. Meeting partner organisations, not to mention learning the history and culture of Burkina Faso. We have visited places such as the local markets (to help with our Moore), the monument of peace (Plus jamais ca), Bangre-weoogo, a natural preservation park and ‘sacred forest’ dating back to the pre-colonial area.

In our first week here, we have encountered severe rain (rainy season), and several blackouts. However, Burkina Faso has been short of amazing. The people (Burkinabe) here are amazingly friendly, kind spirited and welcoming.
I’m excited, nervous and anxious for what the next eleven weeks will entail.

- Aminata

1 comment:

  1. Great to hear about your journey to the 'land of upright men'! We will be looking forward to the next installment at the International Service office in York!!