Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Making Introductions...

Greetings people of England and other lands across the waves!

This blog post is being brought to you from Loumbila, a small village in central Burkina Faso, not too far from the capital Ouagadougou.

But who are the authors (we hear you ask)?

Well, we’re all volunteers helping International Service set up an exciting new partnership with a Burkina based charity called Association Manegdbzanga (which we’ll abbreviate to AML, for the benefit of those who prefer a simpler read)! Education, education, education…Didn’t someone once say that? That’s AML in a nutshell – an organization that educates people in rural communities on matters like literacy, sexual health, finance, and agricultural techniques. All this helps local people realise their human rights. In this blog post, we aim to achieve two things – introduce ourselves and explain our journeys in Burkina thus far. We’ll call these headings Thing 1 and Thing 2 but a Cat in a Hat will not be featuring!

Thing 1

Here we are, in all our “ahem” glory…

UK Volunteers

Name: Sam Peake 

bit about me: Last year I was on the Executive at Nottingham University Students’ Union. I also recently performed in a comedy sketch show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

Reason for volunteering with ICS: Having studies human rights law as an undergraduate, I wanted to deepen my understanding of how these rights are achieved ‘on the ground’ in a developing country. 

Name: April Gladrey   

A bit about me: Before volunteering on ICS I worked as a nursery school teacher.  I have also sat in the Jamaican bob slay from the film ‘Cool Runnings’!

Reason for volunteering with ICS: I am enthusiastic about travelling the world and learning new cultures. I am also eager to improve my public speaking skills, through our awareness raising activities.

Name: Julia Lee

A bit about me: I am training to be a dentist at the University of Bristol. My sister has been on the X Factor!   

Reason for volunteering with ICS: I wanted to contribute towards fighting inequality in one of the poorest countries in the world. I hope to expand my horizons whilst doing so.

Burkina Faso Volunteers

Name: Koné Samira Nadia Dijura

A bit about me: I can speak several languages, including French, English and Mandarin!

Reason for volunteering with ICS: I aspire to create a catering business, so I am looking forward to developing some of the professional skills that I will need to achieve this dream. 

Name:  Kologo Rovisse Andrie Giovani

A bit about me: I studied mining at university. In my spare time I enjoy playing football, and support Arsenal FC. 

Reason for volunteering with ICS: Gold mining is a growth industry in Burkina Faso. To gain employment in this sector it is important to speak English, so I hope to improve this during ICS. 

Name: Kabore Hasnaa Pagui Fawziyya

A bit about me: I enjoy cinema and have been an Assistant to the Casting Director in a French film called ‘Le Dernier Tir’. I can also tell the type of all the mangos in Africa (seriously, I can)!  

Reason for volunteering with ICS: My dream is to start a communications company. I know my marketing skills will develop as we advertise our activities in a new community. 

Team Leaders

Name: Naomi Alexander

A bit about me: I used to be a Geography teacher in South London, which perhaps excuses my love of birds and trees. A few years ago, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

Reason for volunteering with ICS: I enjoy working with young people and this is the perfect opportunity to support individuals with their personal development goals. 

Name: Mohammed Constantine


A bit about me: I am a huge fan of gymnastics – it’s one of my passions!

Reason for volunteering with ICS: I am interested in community development and would like to work in this field after my placement here.

So there you have it! That’s our team and over the coming months, we will each be writing blog posts to update you on our progress. Aren’t you the lucky ones?!

We’ll finish this post with a description of our first week in Burkina; that’s ‘Thing 2’ (to strain the theme we introduced in the opening paragraph)!

Thing 2

The UK volunteers depart from Heathrow on the morning of the 7th of April. Our flight is delayed, causing a quick dash across Istanbul Airport to catch our connection. Soon we’re flying above the sun-kissed domes of the city, over the Sahara, to finally touch down in Ouagadougou (the dusty capital of Burkina Faso).

The next day, UK volunteers meet their Burkinabe counterparts. It’s a Bank holiday, so we have a great opportunity to get to know each other, by playing card games and sport.  Dinner is rice and fish, and some UK volunteers opt to eat in the traditional way; with their right hand and no cutlery. Over the next 3 days we are kept busy with in-country training. It is interesting to learn more about Burkina Faso; our home for the next 3 months. 

On the following morning, each group sets off to the various locations International Service has projects in. It’s sad to say good-bye to friendly faces so soon, but everyone is excited by what can be achieved whilst working on their human rights projects. In the case of our group, that means proclaiming: “Bring on Association Manegdbzanga! Bring on Loumbila!”  

Team AML

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