Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Happy (belated) International Women's Day from HSB!

After the manic (but exciting) weeks of planning the football tournament it is finally over and what a success it was! We have spent the last week starting up new projects for the last few weeks at HSB :( . 

Firstly, the highlight was the re-opening of the Espace Bambino, which we managed to do as a result of many generous donations. We invited 12 children and their mothers to come for the reopening. Prisca’s mother had the honour to cut the ribbon and establish the reopening! The morning was spent doing activities, having physiotherapy and singing traditional songs in Mooré with the HSB staff and volunteers. The children then received a healthy meal afterwards cooked by the TN kiosk.

With the reopening of the Espace, us as volunteers, have had the idea of starting a micro credit project up for the Mothers at the Espace Bambino. We think this will be a great and exciting opportunity for the women to become more independent and begin making money in order for them to support their disabled child. The micro credit involves letting the women invest in money that HSB will give them in order for them to become entrepreneurs and start their own small businesses up. The women seemed extremely keen therefore in the last few weeks we are organising training for confidence building and to teach some of the Mothers new trades. There will be numerous benefits of this project that will not only benefit the children that come to the Espace but also the families of the children. The extra money the mothers are making may contribute to educating their child.  

As the week went on we got more and more excited for the celebration of International Women’s day! A day that is not celebrated with such effort in the UK, however in Burkina it may possibly be bigger than Christmas Day! As is the Burkinabé tradition, we all purchased some of the 8 mars pagne (material), and fashioned it into skirts, jewellery, ties, shirts – anything we could think off in order to blend in with the majority of the city! The day started off by heading to HSB to a street party with food and refreshments that Pierre had organised. The women were dressed beautifully in their tailored outfits. However this year, word on the street was that the pagne has not been popular because of the pattern therefore hardly anybody has bought it! We rarely see women drinking beer but – as we would say – the drinks were flowing! Their bubbly faces lit up the atmosphere and they made our day! They were dancing, singing and asking for photos- Heni and I even got asked to sit on their knees for photos! Pierre and his family joined us as well as Alima and we took some HSB family photos.
The celebrations continued all through the evening by attending a ‘Jungle Party’ at a forest in Ouaga called Bangreweogo. 7 of us, once again, squeezed into a taxi to the forest. When we arrived the mood suddenly changed as it looked as if nothing was happening. However as we drove further into the trees, the music became louder and lights appeared! The night was spent dancing to Burkinabé music and drinking Jungle juice!

We are all starting to get extremely sad about leaving all the amazing people we have met at HSB and in Burkina, however we are going to make these last few weeks count!

Jo Cooney
International Volunteer 

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