A wise friend once said on her return from Burkina Faso that it’s the choices in life that define you. I can not agree more, but on my return from Burkina I want to add that it is moments in life that inform those choices.
It has been 2 years since I first travelled to Burkina Faso – though having ‘virtually travelled’ over the years, and having so much contact with such wonderful people who welcomed me like family – it felt like I had visited many more times. When I think of my visit, it is not the places, the environment, the food (a rarity for me!) or the buildings that come to mind – it is those people.
Burkina is defined by it’s people – it is not a coincidence that Burkina Faso means ‘land of the upright people’.
As always, we asked some students to chat with us and tell us about their lives and what being at school, being sponsored, having food from the food programme means to them.
We want to find out more about about the students but it is often quite hard to ask the questions we would ask children in the UK – what are your hobbies? What do you get up to in your free time? Where would you like to visit? What computer games do you like the most? What is your favourite food? Because often these are things they have never heard of or crossed their minds.
Countless times in answer to the question, what are your hobbies or what do you do in your spare time? – the answer is – ‘I go home to help with the chores, with the animals, with the cooking, with caring for my family, and then if there is time I study’. One might think – oh poor them, they have no minecraft, no lego, no facebook! Though one might also say poor us for having far too much choice and demands on what we should, should not do or own.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Alimata who has been sponsored for 3 years now. She lost her parents a few years ago and quite literally would not be at school without her sponsor’s support. We asked Alimata what made her happy in her life and she replied:
‘as I lost both my parents, I am happy everyday that I am alive and that I can come to school to learn’.
When we asked Benjamin, who is just 14, what he wanted to do after school he said:
‘I want to help others – to be an ambassador for my country so we can have good relationships with the world and that there is good peace and education in Burkina Faso’.
With every answer that is given about the future and their wishes, there is seldom one without the wish to give back; to make life better for others…
‘I want to be a Doctor so I can help others and make people healthy in my country’
‘I want to be a teacher so I can give back the education that I am lucky enough to have’
‘I want to be a translator to help others to come to this country and to learnabout how strong our communities and leaders are’.
Meeting these children are the moments in my life that define me.