“The first day of the training, I woke up very early, around 5 o’clock in the morning. I prayed for a great day and that the universe blesses and touches the work that we would be doing. Actually I should start with the night before! Around 10:00 am, was wrapping up the last activities of printing before my team and I headed for the villages. BCB is in the process of partnering with an organization called CREPA! CREPA stands for Regional Center for Water and Sanitation. Created in Burkina Faso back in the 80s, CREPA has been in the sanitation and hygiene training business for quite a while. This is the main organization used by UNICEF TOGO, the European Union, and Plan Togo, to train and educate villages after project implementation.
The Head of CREPA Madame Tepe, and I met earlier during the week and she in a sense agreed to take BCB under their and her wings. She admitted that there were few women in the domain that we were both working in, so she was encouraged that BCB had arrived and would be doing this work. She then agreed to send one of CREPA’s trainers to our workshop. Djoumai Badamasi was the selected trainer and she was simply amazing at the training. BCB had also located a second trainer whose name is Amen Atike. Her first name is Amen, and her last name translated from Ewe language means medicine, so as a joke during the training, we would say, if you get sick, you take medicine say a prayer and add Amen at the end and you’re done! Lol, she is truly a wonderful teacher!
So to resume, with our rented taxi after the printing was finished, we went to CREPA headquarters to pick our second trainer and then the cab began the three hour drive to our village hub Glei. The ride was pebbled with some conversation amongst the four of us, and Djoumai and I were talking about the work ahead. She shared stories of how she started the type of work, which was not common for women. She stated that with a shortage of jobs in the country, one would not refuse a company that offered to train you in a certain domain. We stopped at a gas station with a store so I could get batteries for our flip camera. Although we are
told they were the originals they end up dying out in 5 minutes. Lol. If you don’t laugh, you would have to cry right? Finally we arrive in Glei and are greeted by Mr. Ohonou our village development chief and our service folks for the week. We are guided to our lodging arrangements and we put our bags down, and prepare to settle in. While the group does this, I go ahead and pay the driver and have him sign our receipt book and wish him a
save journey back home. When I am done, I come back in and sit down with Mr. Ohonou and pay him the majority of the money for the training. Remember this included lodging for 6 trainees plus one trainer and myself and an assistant. This week period also included three meals a day for our group and provision of water and assisting with little requests.
I must say I was so impressed and happy with Mr. Ohonou again, not only coming out with full support but doing so with so much enthusiasm is what moves me. I am thankful for him.
My aunt had cooked food from home which I brought and which was our dinner for that Sunday. Once we finished we took a few minutes to ourselves to freshen up and about two hours later, came back out to prepare our conference zone and area for the next day training. I have video clips of EVERY DAY including the day before, but with the internet connection here, almost impossible to upload! I will keep trying though until we can share our videos with you.
So anyways, the eve before our training was humbling, magical haunting all at once for me. I, Cheri Afolabi and Djoumai Badamasi were present. For me, after SOOOOO many years of work, after going though the fire….I finally would receive the opportunity to sit before 6 women and help them discover their own power, share and transfer knowledge and inspire these women to keep the chain alive by education and empowering others! Cried with thanksgiving before I went to bed that day. Haunted because I was now facing the moment for which I had toiled so many years, now here was this moment sitting right there before my eyes! The beginning of a dream realized is an incredible space to find oneself! I was overwhelmed with gratitude! Thank you to all of you who have supported BCB all these years.
Please continue to support our work. SOOOOO much more to come. Every day, I will blog from my diary entries. Happy Holidays to you all and blessings abundant!”