25 October 2014

Why We're Here - In Photos

Here's a look at some of the things we're doing here with Mennonite Central Committee Burkina Faso...

A few weeks ago we went to visit one of the projects we work with that among other great things, sends kids to school and makes sure they have awesome backpacks to carry their stuff. 




Abdou



With no warning, Adam was called up to present certificates to all the participants. Of course this included pronouncing all their names on the spot. I almost died laughing (and so did the kids)...


...until it was my turn to call out their names and give them their backpacks. Clearly I messed up with this sweet girl.


Oumoune






They also get sacks of rice, which they have to help their mothers carry home. (Adjaratou and her mom.)



And help their mothers tie them to bicycles. (Proof adolescent boys, the world over, give their mothers attitude.)



Ani put her sunglasses on for a close-up, then this cherub stepped in.





We also work with farmers outside the city...

Souleymane



Me in a field, with head-to-toe sun protection. Pretty sure this was the moment Adam chose to tell me my SPF hat actually looks like a pith helmet. Risk melanoma for cultural sensitivity? Jury's still out.


This farmer, Gnini, is showing the difference between the sorghum planted from seeds MCC helped them get and their local seeds. (MCC seeds win.) He planted the fields with his 6 children over their school break. Since it was a thousand degrees outside, I asked him how his kids felt about helping. He said, "Well of course they grumble the whole time, but they have no choice if they want to go back to school."



Bigger and better beans than ever before.



These ladies really seemed to be having a fun gossip session in the fields. It almost made me wish I was part of it. Then Adam reminded me natural selection would have done me in generations ago. The gossip I can do, but hot, hard work in the sun? Carrying heavy loads on my head? These women are amazing. 









There's nothing quite like a community meeting under a tree.



Lamoussa


Next up, moringa! Remember ages ago when Jill posted about the magic of moringa? It's here in Burkina too. I think this might be the next super food to sweep the western world. This stuff is incredible.

Leontine tending the moringa wonder-plant.

























These tiny leaves have 7 times the Vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the Vitamin A of carrots, 4 times the calcium of milk, 3 times the potassium of bananas, and 2 times the protein of yogurt. (And even more than that in their dried form, which is how many eat it here.)


Sorghum, almost ready for harvest.



Adam loved this farmer, Rassmane, and thus begins his photo session...



 






I mean, c'mon. That smile.




'Twas a good year for beans.



Tinga told us how he started off only being able to afford this sorry excuse for a bicycle to take his harvest to the market to sell.


The next year, his crops were a success and he bought a motorcycle to go back and forth.


Now he's upgraded to this moto-cart to help with farm production. He can afford to pay tuition for all of his - wait for it - 16 children to go to school.


That's a lot of hard work.




And lastly, when we start to grumble about the heat, the dust, the patisseries on every corner. Well, we remember we're here working for people like this guy who started a project to help boys sentenced to prison.

When boys are convicted of petty crimes (bicycle theft, purse snatching) and sentenced to prison with more serious adult offenders, Pegue (above right) convinces the judicial system to let the boys serve part of their time with him. He matches them up with apprenticeships so they can learn a trade and make a living.


Pascal and his carpentry apprenticeship. (Contrary to the photo, he's also learned safety skills.)







Shameless plug: Are you or someone you know between the ages of 18 and 20-something? Do you know anything about welding, carpentry, auto-repair, plumbing, masonry, or something else you could teach these boys? Come work with us and Pegue and these kids! 

(More info here: MCC/SALT position.)


There you have it. That's just a few of our partners who keep us busy. It's great work, but somebody's gotta do it.


12 comments:

  1. Super love. Thanks for the great pics. Meetings under the big tree brings back happy memories.

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  2. Hi there! I've got a funny question - I was wondering how you brought your baby to DRC after she was born as they are not allowed to be vaccinated against yellow fever before 9months? I read that you were in DRC after she was born? I also have a two month old and we want to travel to visit my husband who works in DRC and I am wondering how other people overcome these kinds of challenges? I am in the process of obtainging the exemption certificate for her but everyone is telling me I'm crazy, so I looking for like minded people! ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mandie - Excellent question. You're right about the Yellow Fever confusion. The rule they follow at N'djili airport says babies must be vaccinated after 1 year-old. We went in and out of Congo several times when each of our girls were under 1 without being vaccinated without a problem. I think one of our girls was vaccinated at 10 months or so and the health inspector person at the airport said, "Why did you vaccinate her? She's not yet 1." Haha.

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  3. Where did you get that fabulous SPF sun hat (pith helmet)? I'm traveling soon and would like one to take with me

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    Replies
    1. I think I got it at Ross, a discount clothing store. They had a pretty good selection and thus I was able to find something that didn't make me look *too* ridiculous.

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  4. I found this post through the MCC Facebook page :). And, as a MCC Alumni, current West Coast MCC Sale Board member and having been to Burkina, your post brought a huge smile to my face. Thank you for the work you do.

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