Wednesday, October 8, 2014

HSB Sport Inclusive - Training Week Reflections

Hi everybody. So the new HSB Sports Inclusive team have been here in Burkina Faso for a week now. This week was training week which gave us some time meet the team, meet our project partner and learn lots about Burkinabe culture. Here are the team’s reflections on training week:

The build up for a three month placement in such a foreign environment with 18 strangers, 40 kilograms of luggage and desperate wishes of “good lucks” and “stay safes” can understandingly fill you with anxiety. However after a mere half a day in country all my worries were flushed, after a weekend
I was settled and had adapted to accept this exotic culture as my new home; after the 1st week I was happy to discover that I had made 18 solid friendships that I’m sure will last longer than 3 months already. The local Burkinabe are truly thrilled just to shake your hand and are unexplainably friendly and welcoming despite the fact that my French or Mooré are both not up to the socialite standard. In summary my concerns for the 3 months to come have been abolished and replaced with extreme excitement to crack on with the placement for which I came. This is all thanks to ICS’s perfectly executed and organised induction week.
Thanks ICS!!!!
Thomas, UK Volunteer

Hi, my name is Biba I’m an ICS volunteer since January and the next three months are the last for me in this programme; I’m so sad to leave!!! My last induction week was interesting for me because I found the new volunteers (British and national) kind and the contact between us was easy. I met my new team (British, because I already know national) and I hope we will work hard for our project in order to become the best and dream team! Thanks.
Biba, In Country Volunteer

So going to another country for three months is fairly intimidating however, the reception from the Burkinabe people creates an instant sense of homeliness. Although I don’t speak much French yet all of the locals and national volunteers are making an effort to include me in their conversations and also to help me improve my French. Not only are the people wonderful but the country itself is beautiful. The first thing I noticed was how red the landscapes were. Filled with red dust, vibrant clothes and lots of animals, the country makes quite the first impression.
    Anyway onto the important stuff, the project. This week in preparation for our projects we completed an induction week in which we practiced our French and Moore (the local language here) and also found out more about our projects. We visited Handicap Solitaire Burkina and found that the organisation had lots of programmes which we could get involved with. Their main aim is to improve the human rights of people with disabilities in Burkina Faso. Through sports we will teach lessons in mixed ability schools in hope that we can raise awareness about inclusivity, we will also go to schools for children with disabilities and teach sessions in which we are able to adapt the sports to their needs and we will also be running awareness and fundraising events throughout Burkina Faso. The project sounds amazing and I can’t wait to get stuck in!!
Abbie, UK Volunteer

The last week, international service has received the new volunteer’s .This cohort had more girls than the boys. So, they all seem nice, and I press to know them more. Our induction week was good. Now we start our first week of placement, and I hope that these three months will be very very good.
Kabré, In Country Volunteer

                                          From Left to Right: Biba, Abbie, Kabré, Anna, Tom, Kat and Dielika
Bonjour from Burkina Faso! It’s been a week since 18 UK volunteers arrived in Burkina Faso all eager to get involved in the projects we had all come for. We were greeted by the team leaders and a couple of national volunteers where it finally sunk in that I had arrived in Burkina Faso where I would be living and working for the next 3 months, scary but exciting!
   We’ve had a week of inductions and got to know the national volunteers – Kabre, Biba and Dielika. The induction prepared us for the next 3 months in Burkina but also we’ve had our French and Mooré lessons which were interesting to say the least. The locals find it hilarious when you practice Mooré in the local community.
   We’ve also spent the day at our project Handicap Solidaire Burkina (HSB) which is an organisation dedicated to empowering disabled people in Burkina Faso, through the power of sport. HSB has four sports teams: wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair table tennis and handi-bike.
   Overall, it’s been an enjoyable first week where the Burkinabe people are all very friendly and welcoming including all the children who love to shake your hand and shout “Nassara” which translates as the “white people” as they are intrigued and excited by our arrival. 
Anna, UK Volunteer

Hi everybody,
We are very happy to meet you and you are welcome in Burkina Faso. Enjoy your placement and have a good time in Burkina Faso.
Dielika, In Country Volunteer

So there you have it, our first impressions not only of Burkina Faso but of the people, our project partner and our national and international counterparts. I hope you've found this blog as interesting as we have found our first week. Au revoir.


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