Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Meeting to Make a Difference.

What started off as a lot of primary identification in numerous of meetings to establish what needed to be done has developed into a fantastic project and learning experience for the members of the team. In our last blog we spoke of our first visits out of Ouagadougou and we have much to report back to you after our most recent visits. We have now officially visited each of the eight organisations in Ouagadougou and are currently planning our second visits to return and collect the data with our newly formatted questionnaires. Individuals have so far returned to HSB to collect data and we plan to finish the Ouaga visits within the next few weeks.

The latest trips for our dedicated research teams were to the beautiful cities of Gaoua and Diebougou for Team A and the interesting city of Po for Team B. Team B were escorted to Po by the military police, but this was just a precaution the bus company takes. Both teams were highly successful because of the evaluations and changes made to the questionnaire and presentation after the last visits. On these visits we grouped the participants and explained everything much more clearly. Because of this we were far more efficient with the way we collected the data. Every trip has been really eye opening and has helped us to understand the reality of disability sport in Burkina Faso and collect information.

Collecting Information

Team B stayed overnight in Po and worked the next day before returning safely to Ouaga. As for Team A, despite the success of the visits, travelling back was not as successful. They travelled back from Gaoua after staying the night, but due to an unexpected delay from the bus driver attempting to avoid travel taxes they had to stop over an extra night in a town called Sabou as it was too dark to continue traveling. Despite one of the team members getting pink eye due to the unhygienic pillow, they returned safely the next day.

Still a long way from Ouaga...

Members of our team have been collating the data collected into a spreadsheet and it is always updated after we return from visits. We have also been working on some on-going tasks, such as this amazing blog! The equipment list we mentioned last time has now been completed after hours and hours of research. The team worked really well to delegate certain sports to research and contact people to get the most accurate prices for the required equipment. An online presence has also been created for the Federation on both Facebook and Twitter – have a look here and here. It will soon be updated regularly once we all know how to use it properly. Not having internet has made doing this and posting our blog quite tricky.

With the National Paralympic Championships taking place in just under two weeks both Paralympic project teams are involved and we now meet once a week to discuss the national championships and make sure we are doing as much as we can. We all have been given specific roles in both the lead up to the championships and for the day itself. Members of the team are working on advertising the event and writing a press release, while others work on coaching packs to give athletes and coaches to better inform people on various subjects such as nutrition, training, etc. On the day of the Championships we will all be individually working to help with the different disability categories. We are looking forward to the day and hope it will be the best it has ever been.

We have been working our socks off so we have been using our free time and weekends to enjoy Burkina Faso’s amazing sites. We meet up with other volunteers; some people go out for the day to visit the grand marche or use internet and other places people have been include the Ouaga 2000 Tower.  A group also did a Bogolan class for the day taking part in making local crafts. It’s also nice to go out to a good restaurant and socialise with the people you don’t always get a chance to see during the week and relax.

Our plans for the remaining weeks involve finishing what we started: finishing all of our visits in and out of Ouagadougou, storing the data, writing all the reports and working for the National Championships. All the volunteers have booked up their remaining weekends to see and make the most of Burkina with the little time that is left, including the good old safari in Nazinga which apparently is a must! Time is absolutely flying, it seems like there’s never enough time in the day but everyone is soldiering on and making the most out of the amazing experience.

Bogolan Workshop.

The view from the Monument of Heroes in Ouaga 2000.

Until next time bloggers!

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