Sunday, March 1, 2009
Can I get a slice of humble pie?
Annie doing a urine fertilizer formation for the women's association this past week.
I went back to site unsure what to expect after being away for a month and a half. How do you all of a sudden just get started doing projects and formations in a village...? Well, have a great counterpart, that's how! Annie called a women's association meeting as soon as I got back and we did a urine fertilizer formation and talked about improved shea butter techniques. Then, the men's and women's association met to talk about future projects including buying cattle to fatten and then resell and building a community cereal bank.
Annie and another man, Bachary, are also teaching a class of 30 women and a handful of teenage girls to read and write Bambara 5 days a week, 3 hours a day (I do NOT know where the women get the extra time- they're already so busy!). The women are starting from square one with letters and then building up to words (I go and sit in the back of the classroom and play with babies, read or knit). I feel my heart clench up seeing them practice before the teacher calls them up to the board to read aloud to everyone else. They called my name up out of the blue to read and I started to get nervous because while our alphabet is essentially the same, the letters are pronounced differently. I stumbled over a couple words and at the end all the women clapped. For me. I couldn't stop beaming and all the women broke out into laughter at my giddyness.
Of course, no event is complete without a timed photo to remember it by!
Here are the women with a jug soon to be filled with urine then let to sit for 2 days, mixed with water and then applied to gardens and fields! (I swear it's legit :)
The 3rd graders from North Landing Elementary School in Virginia Beach sent school supplies and games for the kids in my village (Thank you!). I was at a loss for how to distribute them but the teachers decided to give the first box to the top students in the class. Each month (there's a whole suitcase more of things to share) they will re-evaluate the students rankings (I'm not wild about the idea of ranking students but so it is) and will give the supplies out accordingly. The kids were really excited to receive the treats and hopefully will feel encouraged to keep working hard. Education is definitely lacking in Mali - it's neither universal nor mandatory (in that it's enforced) so it feels good encouraging what we take for granted in the states.
I had a great birthday yesterday (big 2-3) and thank everyone for the great birthday wishes! I couldn't do this without the incredible support I'm receiving from back home. Thank you!
Posted by Jennifer at 7:02 AM