Monday, November 4, 2013

We are officially half way through our placement.

Week 6- Another national holiday and an eclipse, Burkina is just spoiling us!

 "Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time, I don't know what to do, I'm always in the dark, Living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”

Total Eclipse of the Heart- Bonnie Tyler

Week 6 has been varied and interesting, the British volunteers had a party for Halloween and then we had yet another 4 day working week because of a national holiday, this time the people of Burkina Faso were marking Tout Saints (All Saints Day). I think it is really telling of the level of diversity and tolerance in Burkina that since we have been here we have marked both a Muslim and a Christian holiday, I love that people embrace and accommodate one another’s differences rather than rile against them.

As the weekend approached there was rising anticipation about the promised eclipse that would take place on Sunday. For 1,000 CFA (which is a little over £1 in our money), you could watch the 60% eclipse of the sun as it shone over Ouaga. Unfortunately to the naked eye there was no discernible difference in the level of sunlight so I missed the view but I am told it was “cool” to see. A large number of the volunteers also spend Saturday in the village of Tanguin-Dassouri to celebrate the return of Rasmané’s father from his pilgrimage to Mecca. Rasmané is a national volunteer for IS. After we arrived at the village we had a 2 hour wait before the festivities began and as we were discussing this, Kiogo (another national volunteer, otherwise affectionately known as Stanley) said “British people always have the time but never have the moment” and I have been reflecting on that ever since. This particular Burkinabe’s perception of the British is that we are a nation of clock-watchers, who keep time but never stop to appreciate the moment we are living, and you know what, I think he might be right. Note to self, try to appreciate the present a little more, Burkinabe style! When the fatigued pilgrim did arrive it was an interesting sight, there was singing, dancing, and worship, and of course no Burkinabe celebration is complete without a feast.

As to work, Zahra conducted her case study interview with a visually impaired tandem cyclist named Fileman who studies at the local school for the blind and visually impaired; ABPAM. She reported back that it was “interesting and enlightening” to learn about his training programme and history as a disabled athlete in Burkina Faso. Meanwhile, Roland typed up the transcript of Nicté’s’ interview and Andrew is working on his transcript in the coming week. I have been busy with the aesthetics of the children’s Inclusive Sport presentations and now they are officially complete and ready to be delivered. There is just the small matter of me learning to speak French between now and our first presentation, people do believe in miracles don’t they? The regular coaching sessions are going well and we also visited ARCHE for the second time and prepared the ground in the playing area so that we can begin a coaching programme soon. The work involved plenty of weeding and raking in the heat and there is still more to be done so we are back next week to finish the work. Unfortunately Denis has been out of action all week because he has been struck down with malaria! We went to visit him and Andrew provided him with lots of fruit to build his strength for recovery so hopefully he will be back with us next week, rested and healthy.  

Until next week loyal readership!!

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