Friday, 23 May 2014

What a Sport!

We’ve had a sporty week here in Ouaga! 

Inclusive Sport is an important part of HSB’s work. Sport has the power to transform the lives of people living with a disability, by raising awareness about disability and combatting negative perceptions of people living with disabilities. Furthermore, sport raises self-esteem and confidence among its participants, and can be a way for people with disabilities to meet others in a similar situation. Sport is also a way of proving that people with disabilities can contribute to society, and helps make sure that they are not left on the sidelines. HSB work in wheelchair basketball, hand-bike racing and wheelchair tennis, providing equipment, creating teams and managing leagues and networks.


On Tuesday, we met with the Paralympic teams to discuss how they and HSB can work together in organising inclusive sports demonstrations and awareness-raising sessions. The meeting was promising, and we hope it will lead to some inspirational work! 

On Wednesday, team HSB and a couple of friendly helpers from the Inclusive Sports Education team, Tom and Abdul, went along to tennis training with one of HSB’s athletes, Moïse. 

Luckily for us, Tom is an experienced Tennis coach, and Abdul quite the dab hand. This left  the HSB team as official court translator, ball girl and photographer. 

Tom put his experience to good use immediately, working on Moïse’s serve. It was amazing to see Moïse darting around the court in his sports wheelchair. At the end of the session, all parties were keen for a repeat next week. 

And to top it all off, on Wednesday evening, all the UK volunteers went along with some of the National volunteers to an international football match! Burkina Faso were playing Senegal at the Stade 4 Aout, and the stadium was awash with supporters in red, green and gold. A couple of the UK volunteers even splashed out on their own shirts in support of Les Etalons. 

The Burkinabe national football team is known as Les Etalons - The Stallions - because of an old Mossi legend...

In Ghana, there was a princess named Yennenga, who was an amazonian woman, as strong as any of the men in her father’s army. She was old enough to marry, but her father didn’t want her to, sending her off instead to fight in the wars with his soldiers. 

One day, Yennenga planted some cocoa plants, but left them to go old and to seed, instead of picking them when they had grown. Her father saw the old and wasted plants, and asked his wife who had planted and left the plants. His wife recounted that it was Yennenga who had done so, and he called her over to demand why. Yennenga, in her explanation of why she had done what she had done, pointed out that her father had done something very similar in letting Yennenga grow old enough to marry, and then forbidding her from finding her husband. She told her father that she wanted to marry very much. 

Her father knew of a hunter who lived far away. He told Yennenga to catch a horse and go to the man. The next day, she caught a male horse - a stallion - and rode to meet the hunter. They stayed together and eventually had a child, whom they named Ouedraogo,  after the stallion who had brought them together. Ouedraogo means male horse in Mooré, the language of the Mossi people.. 


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