Known here in Burkina as “Le Huit Mars” (March 8th), International Women’s Day is a government holiday to show appreciation for women, who have insanely difficult lives here every other day of the year. It is a day when the husbands are supposed to prepare the ’to’ while the women watch. While this situation probably never actually happens, they do organize some ceremonies and celebrations and some of the women get to dance and kick back a little. This year, Luis and I went to the official ceremony in our region in a village called Diabo. Here are the highlights:
Every year, they sell a Women's Day pagna (tissue) with a design specific to that year. The women and men buy the pagna and have it tailored in whatever fashion they choose. Here are some examples of the different styles.
During the ceremony, in between speeches on themes such as respecting women and preventing deaths of women during childbirth, there were cultural animations of traditional dance and music. Here is a dance group of young Mossi girls wearing the traditional Mossi "flag" and traditional cotton skirts.
Of course there were lots of drums.
Cheer, Cheer... The ceremony closed with a parade of schools and organisations.
Luis and I with one of our many "tanti" friends that day.
Much of the afternoon was spent in the back of a pickup truck with about 10 tanties. Luis and I, as usual, had no clue what we were doing but had caught a ride with some women who were heading to this village for the ceremony so we hopped in.
After the ceremony, lunch, and the driving around, the women then danced for about four hours straight with no breaks.
While the women danced, Luis and I entertained the kids by being white. We had a solid group of about 20 just staring at us and not saying a word for several hours straight. Clearly, Luis and I are just that interesting.
Luis and I with the tanties who let us tag along with them. African women are the greatest people on Earth. They deserve a lot more than one day of appreciation. Sadly, they are lucky if they get even that here.
Great news! Our Camp GLOW project in my town (Fada) has received the full amount of requested donations. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed, we will make the most of every penny! If you were hoping to donate but did not have a chance, there are Camp GLOW’s in 2 other cities in the country that are still looking for donations. You can find them at www.pcburkina.org/camp-glow. Thanks again!