Friday, 10 February 2017

Hockey hits Burkina - L'arrivée du hockey au Burkina

Demonstration of the rules of hockey to the Handi-basket team. 

Today was set to be a big day with the introduction of hockey for the first time in Koudougou, Burkina Faso. Unsure of exactly how this would go, we strapped the sticks firmly on to the back of our bikes and off we set to the Sports Stadium, travelling in true Burkinabe style. Cones in baskets and hockey balls in bags, we certainly received some strange looks from passerby's, chanting the infamous word 'Nasara' (meaning 'white person' in moore) which we are all now very familiar with. We chose to start by introducing this popular British sport to the local disabled basketball team in order to reach some of our partners and to offer them the opportunity for cultural exchange. 

Our session began with a quick explanation of the rules followed by a short demonstration of what a typical games look like by some of our in-country and British volunteers. The handibasket players were enthusiastic to get started and began by getting a feel for their sticks with some basic passing amongst themselves. It became clear early on that some of the rules would have to be adapted in order for the game to work with the inclusion of wheelchairs. For example, using only one side of the stick proved to be inefficient when trying to steer the wheelchair, as our team leader discovered when holding the stick and trying the wheelchair for herself! What's more, we found that the hockey balls were too small for the size of the wheelchair as they would often get lost underneath it. We followed these drills with an inclusive match featuring both the players and volunteers, giving them the chance to put their practice into play. This was watched on by a few curious locals. 
We were all incredibly impressed by the adaptability of the players and the ease at which they picked up the game!

Our handi basket team working on their hockey skills, passing the ball between one another in pairs

After our hockey session was over, a few of the volunteers gave their hand at basketball, although it was safe to say we were fairly useless in comparison! Negotiating a wheelchair whilst playing a sport requires a whole new level of skills and hand-eye coordination.

Callum, one of our UK volunteers in full action, scoring for the yellow team
The Handibasket team getting to grips with Indian dribbling.

Rasmata supporting the team from the sideline.


After the inclusive sports session, team ASK visited Madame Guissou, the president of the association "FEMININE TEEGA WENDE" who work in hairdressing. At around 11 oclock, we all squeezed into her small somewhat hidden away hair salon and she gave us an insight into some of the work her association does for women living with disabilities such as training in braiding ('la tresse') and weaving ('le tissage'). We cant help but feel that our British hairstyles are a little dull in comparison to the multitude of beautiful designs the Burkinabe women adorn. 

Madame Guissou also showed us an award that she had recieved from the Burkina Government, titled the Chevalier de l'ordre du mérite de l’action sociale et de la santé to recognise her hard work

Furthermore, outside of her hairdressing profession, Madame Guissou is a rigorous sports women. Not only is she a member of Koudougou's disabled basketball team but she is also a keen cyclist who competes regularly, winning medals such as the one she showed us from the National Disabled cycling competition last year. 

Madame Guissou showing us how to braid hair. 
On our way back to the office, we made a visit to Monsieur Kabore's workplace, the captain of the basketball team. He showed us some deckchairs and a bed that he had woven himself with string fabrics of various colours. One of our national volunteers, Farouk, selflessley tested the deck chair, falling asleep within a matter of minutes.There is no arguing that the chairs were comfy!

Written by Callum Kennedy and Hollie Lord.


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