Frontiers of Justice, Travelogue

Dancing in Manni

On the fourth day of the Frontiers of Justice visit, the group visited Manni, in one of the poorest regions of Burkina Faso. This entry was written by Neal Deles.

Dancing in Manni

After an early morning mass with Bishop Thomas Kabore at his chapel, we were off to Manni, which is more than three hours drive from the capital of Ouagadougou. The northeast region of Burkina Faso is where you will find a lot of living in extreme poverty as it one of the most food insecure regions in the country. As a response to this issue Catholic Relief Services worked on programs focused on girls.

Education for girls is a major issue in this part of the world, where parents often do not find the value of sending their female children to school. Through a grant from The U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, CRS built a school complex of three primary school classrooms, teacher lodging, latrines and a borehole to provide easy access to water for the school and the surrounding community. The students were also given food in the school and the girls received some take home rations as well. In this school the enrolment of girls increased tremendously that they now have more girls than boys enrolled.

The delegation was overwhelmed by the warm welcome of the people of Manni as everyone in the village came out to welcome us, clapping their hands in unison as we boarded the bus, shaking our hands and following us as we walked towards the classrooms. The mothers also danced at the beat of the drums, stomping their feet and clapping their hands while others were shouting a shrill melody. Each woman taking turns to dance for us and eventually inviting the members of our group to join them.

Each teacher in our group was given the opportunity to visit a student’s homestead and to spend time with their family. At times only warm smiles were exchanged or conversations took longer than planned as translated from the local language to Morre to French and then to English. There was a palpable sense of community, despite the language barrier. After the visit, each one of us was given a live chicken as a parting gift. We soon learned that it was the families’ way of expressing their gratitude and joy with our visit as they felt unworthy to have people travel so far to spend time with them. We all thought that the honor was on our end, we felt unworthy of such a warm and joyous hospitality. Their exuberant welcome and farewell filled our hearts abundantly. We felt like we danced with joy with the people of Manni that day.


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One Response to “Dancing in Manni”

  1. Dennis Fisher CRS NE Says:

    Dancing and Chickens. HOw can you beat that combination. It is a lot of fun to follow the blog. Good luck in Ghana

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