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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Culture mash up

Culture Mash Up

As part of the ICS programme we aim to immerse ourselves in the Burkinabe culture. So last week we had a bit of a culture mash up. The UK staff here at HSB and HSB Sports Inclusive have welcomed two of our national colleagues into Maison Cefise (our house). Although at first we thought there may be a bit of a language barrier but it actually worked out really well J. Also, this week we took part in home exchanges. Each UK volunteer mostly in pairs went to a HSB staff member’s house for the day. There are lots of fun stories from these visits. Hope you enjoy.

Welcome to Maison Cefise

Last week the National volunteers Cedric and Kabré came to live with Maison Cefise Monday to Friday as part of the ICS home visits. It was an enjoyable week as we got to know the National volunteers more and we learnt a lot about them and what their life is like here in Burkina – something I feel we may not have learnt had we just been living with UK volunteers only. Both groups of volunteers used the home visits to our advantage and took part in language exchange discussions in order to improve our French and the National’s English, which is already very good.    Anna

 

Last week I stayed with the UK volunteers in their house sharing common life. It was very fun and I learned more from the UK volunteers. I found them very kind. The experience was so good that I have decided to come back again next week.   Kabré

Home Visits

So last weekend myself and Olivia, one of the other UK volunteers from HSB visited a HSB staff member’s house for the day. The experience was both amazing and bizarre. We stayed at Marriam’s for the day; she pulled out all the stops, has an amazing family and is generally an remarkable woman. I couldn’t have wished for a better person to stat with for the day. My first impressions of the house were much different to how I felt not long after arriving. From outside the house looked small and was located in a narrow alleyway alongside two other houses. However, when we went in the living room was stunning. The room was decorated with stunning curtains, furniture and there was even a television. It smelt like fresh linen and generally had a welcoming and homely vibe.

   Whilst we were there Mariam asked us if we would like to help her to prepare lunch, couscous with tomatoes and chicken sauce. Our roles included grinding up a paste of garlic, coriander and fish stock and chopping some onions and tomatoes. Nothing too elaborate but fun none the less. The food was amazing however, as with all Burkinabe cuisine there was mounds of it. Enough too stuff us into food coma. After lunch Mariam noticed that we were falling asleep on the settee and got us a bed made up. To our amusement the bed was a matt, bed sheet and pillows set up in the alleyway outside her house. Lying there covered in flies, surrounded by pigeons and varying children and neighbours the situation was one of the weirdest situations I have ever been in. However, after lying there for half an hour laughing at the bizarreness of the situation we actually fell asleep for about an hour only to wake up covered in bites in a pool of sweat. All in all we loved our day at Mariam’s and couldn’t have wished for a more hospitable host.   Abbie


On Saturday me and the HSB Sports Inclusive team leader Cat visited Pierre’s house as part of the home exchange programme. Pierre is part of the HSB team where we work. On our arrival we were greeted by Pierre, his wife Bernadette and 2 adorable children Epi and Melissa. Shortly after Pierre left, as he had to visit the wielding workshop, myself and Cat helped to prepare the food for lunch. We were responsible for grinding the vegetables, which I don’t think we did very well because Bernadette soon took it off us and grinded it herself. The food was delicious; we had made a traditional dish of Riz Graz. After lunch we played with the children for a while teaching them how to throw and catch the ball. Pierre later arrived home but Bernadette took us to the local Maque for drinks. Overall, it was a very good experience and I’m glad we went to stay as it allowed us to be immersed into the Burkinabe culture and see what life is like in their community. I look forward to visiting next month for more cooking lessons and to see the children.  Anna

 

After a solid 4 and a half hour sleep I was awoken by an angry taxi outside waiting for me, I threw on some clothes, chugged back 2 pills of Imodium (haven’t needed the toilet since…) and threw on a hat given to me by Callum the week before – for relational purposes as every time I’ve seen Freddie he’s wearing a hat. I was excited to learn more about Freddie in the coming hours as even after working in the same building as him for three weeks I barely saw him let alone got to know him. We got to the small and pleasant village where Freddie lives to find him waiting in an empty Maque that was in the shadow of a huge Baubau tree. Lass (my taxi driver) quickly found the location and dropped us off at Freddie’s house, we only saw one room which was the living room, it was decorated with family photos and certificates, one of which was to represent Freddie being knighted by Blaze the current president. We had some delicious spaghetti and some sort of meat, which both me and Caroline really enjoyed. Soon after Freddie turned on the television, this made me and Caroline worried as we were both desperate to learn more about this man of mystery. After roughly half an hour of something similar to Britain’s got Talent, Freddie decided - to our relief - to take us on a village tour. After he dropped of his Great Aunt he took us to an open plan Maque which was really relaxing, Caroline fell in love with a tiny puppy whilst my love for Brakina (the local beer) grew even stronger. We then hopped back in Freddies car and journeyed over to the Maque next to the Bau Bau tree which unlike before was now bustling, we sat with a couple from Ouaga who were filled to the brim with laughter and character, they promised that they will find me a Burkinabae wife and that they’ll look out for me and Caroline in Ouaga. Freddie then declared that we were going to a market to get some food… Or so we thought, in ended up being yet another Maque and another Brakina, our tally was on 4 by now. Sadly before we knew it, it was nearly 5 and Lass would be close to picking us up. So we hurried back and before I knew it I was fast asleep in the back of the taxi. Overall the experience was awesome, I’ve made a promise to make sure I say hello to Freddie every day that I work at HSB, and it’s enlightening to see him beaming back at me every time I do. Tom

 

So overall, last week was full of new experiences, new cultures and lots of fun. It was an amazing opportunity for us to learn about the Burkinabe culture and every member of the team fully embraced it. Also we got to teach the nationals about British culture mostly to their amusement. We’ll be doing more culture exchanges while were here and hopefully they will all be as amazing as the ones we’ve taken part in already. Hope you’ve enjoyed our blog. Aurevoire

HSB Sports Inclusive Team

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