Another day in Ouagadougou

Started out early this morning with a 6k run in the Park Bangreogo, Ouagadougou’s urban park. I felt like the prosecutor character in the French detective procedural Spiral, because Dounko and I talked about FAVL the whole run.  Then Dounko and Donkoui and I had a two hour meeting to go over a whole bunch of issues for FAVL in Burkina.  Lots of interesting problems to resolve and debate.  We then drove down to meet the head of CENALAC, but he was not available, so we agreed to see each other again in the afternoon.  Donkoui and Dounko and I continued our meeting at Patisserie Koulouba.

Delicious potato and green bean soup made by Salimata.  Krystle stopped by for a “debrief” that was too brief!  She’s been an amazing person for FAVL-Burkina.  So happy though for her move up the NGO world to take a more challenging and rewarding position at World Food Programme.

Then a good interview with another candidate for our positions at FAVL for replacing Donkoui and Krystle.

The head of CENALAC (the government entity in charge of the network of 30 town libraries in Burkina Faso), Jean de Dieu Dabire, stopped by our office for a long talk.  We’re exploring ways that we can collaborate, especially on training workshops for mayors and other municipal workers so they can better manage village libraries and the salaries of librarians.

Then we headed downtown to Ave. Kwame Nkrumah where we met the mayor of Bereba Koura Manzalo.  We had an excellent talk about development issues confronting the village and region.

Finally ended the evening with a lovely informal dinner and drinks at home of old friends Pieter and Hilkka (a huge FAVL supported in Burkina).  Even got to see Bissap and Puppy…. and oh yeah Amarylis, Phoebe, Iska, Peter and the new Dutch school teacher.

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Four days in Burkina Faso, the report so far

I arrived Sunday night after the IFLA conference in Lyon.  Monday morning started early with a run in the neighborhood, Zogona. Everything green.  Then long meeting with FAVL staff.  Transition of leadership team in Ouagadougou is going smoothly.  Went over to INSS to meet with my colleague Alain Sissao and talk about some of our research projects. Good dinner with one of the candidates for one of the openings we have here in Ouagadougou as coordinator.

Tuesday morning had a great meeting with Neda Sobhani of Catholic Relief Services, about our upcoming project partnering with CRS to establish 20 libraries in northern Burkina.  It is going to be great.  So excited to hear CRS ordered 3,000 copies of our FAVL produced book on Moringa, to distribute in every primary school in their program.  Worked all day with the team, and then in evening had an excellent visit with Rotary Savane, our partners in our Hounde Multimedia Center project.

Wednesday met in morning with another candidate for our Ouagadougou position.  Spent the morning preparing a talk for middle and high schoolers at International School of Ouagadougou.  They have been very supportive of FAVL’s work.  It was fun to see some of my daughter’s old classmates, and the students were so positive about the program.  After lunch had a good meeting with Lucile Bationo of Peace Corps, talking about collaboration possibilities especially with the library project.  Later in the afternoon met with our partner organization Yam Pugri, who are helping us with the EIFL-funded health literacy reading clubs… introducing smartphone technology as reading and communication platform in the libraries.  Was a trip to meet their “responsable” Sylvestre Ouedrogo and watch him clear a tabletop full of electronic equipment, to make room for our meeting.  Capped the evening off with dinner with our much-missed colleague Krystle Nanema who has taken a job at World Food Program.

Started Thursday morning with a long run with FAVL regional coordinator SANOU Dounko in Park Bangreogo.  Beautiful, green.  A group of old Burkinabe out for an early morning walk.  A huge colony of bats wheeling about overhead.  Today we hosted four librarians from northern Burkina for an all-day meeting/retreat.  Much talk of relationships with the mayors.  Very complicated I will write more later.  Had breakfast, started talking, continued until 2pm!   Now they are off to visit the “echangeur” and the Monument au Martires and the Village Artisanale… Tonight, Festival de Glace!

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Cyperus esculentus – ncɔkɔn … better than noabga

I picked up a little bag at random in the boutique by our house in Ouagadougou.  5 cents.  A nickel bag!  Absolutely delicious.

The tubers are edible, with a slightly sweet, nutty flavour, compared to the more bitter-tasting tuber of the related Cyperus rotundus purple nutsedge. They are quite hard and are generally soaked in water before they can be eaten, thus making them much softer and giving them a better texture. They are a popular snack in West Africa, where they are known as ncɔkɔn in the languages Bamanankan or Dyula.They have various uses; in particular, they are used in Spain to make horchata. “Horchata” is a nonalcoholic beverage of milky appearance derived from the tubers of the tigernut plant mixed with sugar and water. It has a great economic impact in the Valencian region of Spain.

via Cyperus esculentus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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uh oh… gotta speak to middle and high school students at International School of Ouagadougou!

ISO librarian Jennie McKenzie was kind enough to invite me to come speak to students at the school.  ISO students and staff have in past several years been a huge support to FAVL.  So I am super-grateful for the chance to personally say thank you, especially on behalf of the lady with the kittens (Krystle).  But… what to wear?  How do I engage middle schoolers.  That’s OK, But high schoolers?  Double yikes.  I’ll try to just let FAVL speak for itself.

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FAVL creating content: Reading material for children in Burkina Faso

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Floby – la femme de mon boss

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Freak out attack… maybe in same room as Kate DiCamillo?

So the workshop I am presenting my paper at in Paris at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France is on encouraging youth reading.  Kate DiCamillo apparently is going to be at the session for an interview.  Now, I’ll be honest and say that neither of my kids liked Because of Winn-Dixie.  But…. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane…?  OMG I loved reading it to them, and they loved reading it themselves.  Such a beautiful melancholy book.  My mother said, “Well, of course she found him,” matter of factly.  In my mind the book exists in exactly the same plane as Spielberg’s AI.

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