As the end of the year rolled around for both schools and the Center, we spent the last weeks of May preparing for the three-day end of year celebration at the Center where the girls would show off what they have done during the year. As with any good Burkinabe celebration, this one went on longer than you could have imagined, had more food than you thought you could have eaten, and involved more dolo than you should have drank. The whole community came over the three days, and the girls did a performance including a short play and five different dances (which nearly brought me to tears, I was so proud!). The woven pagnes and the soap, the clothes and the embroidered handkerchiefs, all of it was on sale for three days amidst the vats of rice, meat from two (or three) slaughtered pigs, trash cans full of dolo and eardrums full of bad Burkinabe music.
The end of the year was bitter sweet for me. As I teased and chatted with the girls during the celebration, I couldn’t help but wish I had spent more time with them doing other activities. They had really started to get comfortable with me, which was incredible, and I was getting robbed of translating those relationships into real working potential until October when the summer holiday finishes. Luckily, I’ve already got lots of ideas for what to do next year!