Friday, October 4, 2013

Au revoir Ouaga!

As our final full week draws to a close here in the office, we have been trying to get organised for leaving and tie up all loose ends.

We have made our second visits to the Ouagadougou-based organisations that we visited at the start of our project. Here we collected information to be put into our databases and provided any further information we had picked up on. It was nice to be able to revisit these organisations and meet with their members for a second time. It gave a real sense of coming full circle to our project.

During the final week of our project, we also helped assist on the Education team’s Inclusive Sports Day. It was great to see some familiar faces from our visits present and getting involved. We really hope it solidifies the message that the project is here to stay. Seeing what must have been a least 100 children watch and take part in disability sport/inclusive sports, ranging from Boccia to Basketball, was incredible. Their smiles spoke a thousand words. It is these sort of events which help to change perceptions and get the message out that sport is for everyone, no matter their ability.

Both Inclusive Sports teams with ASSB, a local deaf football team who took part in the event.

In July, at the beginning of our time here, we were all apprehensive about embarking upon a new project and what we would be able to achieve. Now that we are coming to the end, we feel very proud of the work we have done and know that we have created extremely solid foundations to be built upon by future groups. We have successfully created numerous databases full of information ready to be synthesised and used to help identify the real needs of those practising disability sport here in Burkina Faso. Through our visits to organisations across the country we all feel that we have a good understanding of how sport is practised by people with disabilities and the difficulties they face. We feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to see so much first hand.

As we international volunteers have begun to wind down our activities and carry out work as part of our debrief, we have felt a great sense of sadness to be leaving. We have all loved our time here in Burkina Faso and feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to work on such a new and exciting project. We will definitely miss so many aspects of Burkinabe life and all of our new friends and colleagues. This isn’t goodbye! No doubt however, we are all looking forward to returning home to see our families and friends (and to having a lunch that isn’t just rice and sauce!).

The Research Team's last day at work!

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