This past week I have been working a ton in Ouagadougou, the capital, to put together storybooks for children. In this round of work, myself and a group of volunteers will be producing ten different stories all completed in 6 languages: English, French, Moore, Jula, Fulfulde, and Goumantchema. We collected the stories in our villages, wrote a few, and then adapted a couple out-of-copyright western tales. The artwork came from both volunteers and Burkinabe. This whole project was started out of a need to develop reading materials in local languages for preschool-aged children. Currently, no such resources exist and those kids lose out on a prime time to build a base for a future of learning. Their future of learning also doesn’t always look favorable either, but this is the best place for us to start. A thank you is needed for my Mother, for helping to fund this project in the first round. As it grows we will be searching for additional funding, ideally from larger organizations here in Burkina and abroad.
The storybook project will be ongoing and I think it will be a very rewarding thing to look back on. We are creating books for kids! These books will be able to be used by volunteers across the country and by other organizations working in Burkina. Some things about working in Burkina are very difficult, but I couldn’t imagine getting a group of people together and then within five months producing nearly finalized products that are a first of their kind. I, however, am very much physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. I spent seven straight days work an 8-to-5 job. For those in the states, its not that impressive but for a volunteer going from seven months of village life back into a fast paced extended work-week, I think my fellow volunteers and I deserve an award or prize of some sort. It was hinted at by PC office staff that we’d maybe get some brownies, but those were never seen.
When not spending hours pouring over translations, editing images, and dealing with formatting issues, I attempt to work in my village. The most rewarding project has been teaching karate. I now have four yellow-belts and a handful of white-belts that are almost ready for testing. Once all my students have progressed to yellow-belts, I will add additional students. I had a tiny story written about this project by the Midwest Peace Corps Volunteer group
Here in Burkina, I work on the Information Communication & Technology committee. I now serve as the media chair and we have a ton of projects in the working. Right now, my computer is filled with 10 partial projects that I need to find time to finish. Our work includes cultural videos, educational videos, language podcasts, and informational radio ads. The other day, I helped a fellow ICT member put together four different radio commercials, in five languages, talking about the dangers of and preventive measures for malaria. Malaria is the biggest health threat to people in Burkina.
This past week I was able to finally add a video I shot in village of friend making a leather sheath for the knife I had made. The knife process was also made into a film and loaded months ago.
Another video that I am pretty proud of, features a local artisan who works in the Artisan Village in Ouagadougou. I didn’t shoot the video but helped edit the video while teaching another volunteer how to edit videos at the same time. Now it won’t only be me doing editing work!
So, as I said, this actually can be a job at times but it is also filled with a lot of fun and amazing adventures. I hope to post more content and project details in the future. I know I have been very lax in blogging. To all my friends and family, I hope you are well!