Burkina Faso: Sharing a Burden

I’m waiting for my turn to take a tour at the Kisito Home Orphanage. The Orphanage is the first CRS general relief partner that we will be visiting. CRS has provided food (bulgar, oil, and lentils) to the orphanage. I am a bit nervous about seeing baby’s ages one week to 3 years who have abandoned by their mothers due to extreme poverty or death.

As I wait outside the orphanage, I meet a woman carrying bananas on her head. Seeing her reminds me of seeing other women carrying items on their head as a child in El Salvador. I’ve always been fascinated with the ability these women have to balance.

Burkina Faso

Carla Aguilar. Photo by Lane Hartill/CRS

I approach the woman and try to communicate with her. She only speaks French so there is a big barrier between us, but I flash her big smile and we share a moment. I point to her head and she quickly understands that I’m fascinated by her skill.

She proceeds to place the load of bananas on my head. It is super heavy and I am unable to manage without her help. She laughs at me and I laugh at myself too. I couldn’t imagine carrying a load that heavy on my head. I could barely manage carrying my back pack full of clothes and at the airport!

For most of us, her job seems so simple, but it’s not. In Burkina Faso, the majority of people live on less than $2 a day, and she is probably one of the many who works night and day for less.

I joked several times with the other delegates on the trip about finding my new vocation in Africa—a banana carrier, but it seems like do not have what it takes.

It’s time for my tour…got to run…

Carla E. Aguilar is a CRS staff member based in San Antonio, TX. She accompanied a group of 12 to Ghana and Burkina Faso on the first ever Hispanic Ministry leadership delegation immersion trip.

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One Response to “Burkina Faso: Sharing a Burden”

  1. A Spice of Solidarity | CRS Voices Says:

    […] Carla E. Aguilar is a CRS staff member based in San Antonio, TX. She accompanied a group of 12 to Ghana and Burkina Faso on the first ever Hispanic Ministry leadership delegation immersion trip. You can read yesterday’s post here. […]

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