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Fifteen days to renovate a hospital in Burkina Faso with the association Coup de Pouce and in conjunction with local artisans: this was the solidarity project of Fathia Bellabbes, a Fnac Logistique.
It was thanks to the information from the PPR Foundation, relayed by the management of la Fnac Logistique, that I discovered Solidarity leave. I was immediately enthusiastic about this programme which corresponded to my desire to help deprived people, especially in developing countries. I therefore turned to the organisation Coup de Pouce, which offers group construction and renovation projects.
The organisation suggested the project in Burkina Faso, which corresponded to my expectations. Before I left, I communicated with them by e-mail and we met together four times with the other volunteers (roughly ten) and the project manager. Once we got there, the organisation took care housing, meals and transportation for us.
The project involved renovating the orthopaedic surgery department of Sourou Sanou Hospital in Bobo-Dioulasso. When we arrived, I was shocked when I saw the ramshackle state of the centre. I wondered how patients suffering from serious illnesses could get better in this insalubrious place. We had to repair the dilapidated walls with cement and plaster then repaint them. The floor also needed a little repair work! In 15 days, with a good dose of teamwork and some elbow grease, we managed to keep our promise: the premises were like new! We especially didn’t want to disappoint the local population we had come to help…
I met many people through the project: first, the other French volunteers who participated and then the people from the village. Even though it isn’t always easy to live with people you don’t know, we had the same objective and we remained very close through the end, and even now, months after the project. As for the inhabitants, they were kind of wondering what “these white people” had come to do! At the beginning, some even came to consult us, thinking that we were doctors and nurses! Their conviviality immediately enabled us to create ties and to work in good humour.
If he or she were to decide to participate in a group project, like I did, I would advise the person to come in good shape, since the physical effort is substantial. Next, you need to have a certain team spirit, be willing to forget small differences to work towards a common goal. At the same time, the presence of the local people enables everyone to focus on what is essential: giving them a helping hand to improve their living conditions.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to get over your own personal concerns for the good of all!