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On March 8, we ‘celebrate’ International Women’s day. That day, in Burkina, in the year’s 635 days, women are ‘granted the right’ to ‘shelve’ all their problems and responsibilities. The few who can afford it, due to its approximately 15€ cost, will dress with the commemorative and emblematic fabric that is designed every year for the occasion. They´ll go out, sit down at bars with their friends and spend time together; they will even dance… then they will go back home at nightfall, to the same anguish and problems that have been waiting for them all day, and that will accompany them until next year’s eighth of March.
In what we know as the developed world, a bicycle is a sports or leisure equipment. That was the use for which it was invented in 1817 thanks to Baron K. Drais’ ingenuity. But bikes aren’t used for fun or exercise everywhere. Three are places in the world where bicycles are the only possible means of transport.
Yes, that’s right – we celebrate Christmas here in Rimkieta, too! And Madame Hema, assistant director of the Valencia nursery school, explains it beautifully in the last project report, which I share with you today. See for yourselves!
When I say that Burkina drains my energy every day but returns it twofold, it’s because of cases like Aline’s – which I shared with you last month – one of the most painful experiences I’ve been through. But thank God there are also cases like Aldelphe’s – in which after suffering third degree burns on both legs, today she can walk again!
Today is one of those days when my heart is broken and not even the energy this land gives me daily is strong enough to comfort me. Monday morning, Madine visited us. She is the mother of Aline, who was one of our maternelle students who went on to receive a grant from our school scholarship program. We just signed her up in second grade for this academic year.
One of my first tastes of reality of what it means to live day to day, without even basic necessities covered – so-called subsistence economy – was a visit to a sick man in Ouaga’s public hospital…. It’s difficult to describe facilities that have never had even the most minimum upkeep, that literally flood in the rainy season, and whose suffocating heat the rest of the year is unbearable. It’s hard to imagine the smells. Hard to imagine the lack of hygiene. Hard to imagine the lack of privacy, with the sick scattered about the hallways on mats. Hard to understand the tremendous lack of human and material resources.
I’ve been sitting in my office all morning praying to “AK’s” guardian angel to watch over her today with special care and attention, and telling myself that no sixteen-year-old should be giving birth tight now, and especially not under the circumstances in which this type of thing happens here…
Delighted and honored by a visit from Mrs. Le Maire Rainatou Ouedraogo from Ouagadougou’s 3rd District – which includes Rimkieta – and the delegation of 5 advisors who came with her, I want to share it with you in this new post….
For this latest post, about which I’ve been ruminating for some time, the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is dead on. As hard as I might try, I’d never be able to explain to you in words the almost daily vicissitudes I encounter on my commute between home and Rimkieta.
“Early in the morning I go to fetch water from the fountain. When I get home, I bathe the 8-month-old baby of the aunt with whom I live, then, carrying him on my back, I sweep the house and patio and wash the dishes. Then I go to the market to buy vegetables and I help my aunt cook. In the afternoon when I get home from FAR, I sweep the house again, wash the clothes, and after dinner, I wash the dishes “ (SK, 10 years old).