Friday, September 22, 2006

According to the United Nations' Human Development index, I live in the third "least livable" country on the planet (2005 rankings). Only Niger and Sierra Leone rank lower. Since I moved here in 1999, Burkina has held the spot. I spent the day trying to "do good".....but it's really just a proverbial drop in the bucket. And the bucket has holes.
Today I distributed school supplies to nearly 50 children. The catechism classes at our church had given a donation last spring and I kept it for the upcoming school year. Each child got a notebook, three pencils, two pens, an eraser, a ruler and a little box of colored pencils. I know that there are poor people in the US and Europe, but I still can't imagine that their children would get too excited over some yellow pencils and a plastic ruler. But these kids today were over the moon. They treasured this stuff and were all excited about going to school.
I had also done some fundraising last year to put some girls in school. I got sponsors willing to commit for at least four years. JP and I sponsor a few kids, as well. I make a special effort for the girls, as so few go to school here. Only about 8 percent of all adult women can even read. The figure is close to 20 percent for men.

I have no news from Alizeta about her court case. I am hoping she'll be at the project Monday. I doubt I'll see her daughter. Her second oldest was helping out at the project and bringing news from home, but Alizeta's husband came by last week. He told the girl she had to stay home from now on. There's no reason why...he is just an abusive, stupid man. (Alizeta moved out with the children two years ago) But he still has authority over the kids, so she had to leave. it's all very messed up.

The soap for Tess is all done, as well as the 50 boxes!! She finally came today to pick them up today, but wasn't happy! Some of the soap tags were on colored paper, rather than natural. She hadn't specified at the time of her order, so I had printed up a normal batch. Between her confusion on the pickup date and this, I am not feeling so kindly towards her as I did in my previous post on the subject. I gritted my teeth and offered to reprint the labels and have the soap re-tagged. The customer is always right, even when she is a pain in the butt.
Luckily, the work doesn't have to be finished quickly. Tess' truck is completely broken down and she'll have to buy a new one before she can leave for Agadez!
Ok- I admit it. I paid a Winyé Earth Priest to put a curse on her Jeep. She deserved it.
Should give us plenty of time to finish up the order. Heh, heh!

BTW- I'm going to a goodbye party on Saturday for a German friend. She's moving to Niger! The worst place in the world!


Ali la Loca said...

I just found your blog through your interview on the website. I am so excited to read about your life and your views on Burkinabé society.

I'm originally from New Mexico but lived for several years in Brazil before moving to Mozambique 1.5 years ago. I am a partner in a consulting firm where I also work. We mainly raise money for small/medium local businesses as well as new projects (foreign or local) in the country. It is interesting work, and Mozambique is a great but sometimes frustrating place.

I'm inspired by your words regarding giving back to the place you live. I've become so cynical about the NGOs here in Africa that I've let it taint my desire to do any sort of volunteer work. I'd really like to know more about your paper project. I am a jewerly designer on the side, and I'd love to be able to give back a bit through a venture that I know won't repeat the same problems I see with the NGOs.

I look forward to reading more about your life.

Best regards,

BurkinaMom said...

Hi Crazy Ali! Nice to "meet" you.
ITA with you about NGO's in Africa. They tend to be out of touch with what people here need and want. Grassroots is the way to go! It's great to know you're out there getting funds to those small business owners.
Let's get together by email and chat.