Monday, January 30, 2012

What is an AME?

What is an AME?

If you are thinking AME stands for African Methodist Episcopal, you are oh so wrong... well at least here in Burkina you are. AME, in Burkina, stands for Associations des Mères Educatrices (Mothers, and Female Educators Association).

Due to dated traditions and what not that exist here in Burkina, Women tend to be left out of important decisions when it comes to their children's schooling. With these associations, Women are now able to have more a voice when it comes to the scholastic environment.

At the primary school I am working with, the AME was non-existent. I am proud to say, that since my arrival in November of 2011, we have established an association with an executive board. We have also started doing income-generating activities. The larger idea is that we will be able to establish a center where children from the primary school can come on free days and holidays to learn trades skills. Yes, it is very important that these children receive an education, but it is also very important that they have work skills other than farm work to fall back on.

In this society, the most sought after jobs are NGO jobs and government jobs. Unfortunately, due to how the school system is organized here, few individuals actually make it into these jobs. The idea of the mothers is to equip their children with unique skills to make them stronger candidates for employment later in life. I LOVE IT!

We have started VERY small. Right no we are doing soap-making, and neem cream. There are countless problems with hygiene here, so soap is definitely something that makes money. Neem cream is also something that makes money here. Think of this as OFF, but natural. We boil down leaves from the leaves of the neem tree, and then mix it with shea oil to make a lotion of sorts. It ends up repelling mosquitoes, which in turn, helps prevent people from being bit by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Its really cool, and I promise to come back and add photos, and better explain all of this.

All in all, I am VERY proud of my AME! They are kicking ass, and making giant steps every weekend!

I promise to keep you all better updated in regards to what I am doing.

Take care, and until next time,

Ebben Wiley

Where in the world is Ebben Wiley these days?


A great deal happened between rainy season and now. Obviously the fair happened, but I also changed sites.

I am no longer down in the East near Togo and Benin... I am not in the North not far from Mali. I have been at my new site since November 9, and I absolutely LOVE it.

I meant to post about the site change around Thanksgiving time, and got distracted by the super fast internet at our library. It is actually easier for me to work from site these days, and I take complete advantage of that.

I now have a house that is at least two and a half times larger than my old house, and a private courtyard that is , no joke, the same size of the courtyard I used to share with at least 13 other people, and God only knows how many animals. (Link to first post about my old courtyard.)

This new site feels like it always meant to be, you know? I mean, don't get me wrong, I am thankful for all my experiences at my old site. I learned a great deal from my old site, and if it were not for that, I don't think that I would be enjoying my new site as much.

I am currently working at L'École National pour les Enseignants Primaire (the National Teachers School). It is an interesting match. I am now more closely aligned with my original assignment, which was Girls Education and Empowerment (now known as Non-formal Education).

I work with the AME ( Student Mothers' Association) to help bring money into the school— I'll be posting on out income-generating projects soon. With the women, I also advocate for the rights of the children, and will be working with them to help teach their children income-generating activities during their free time, and school breaks.

Another project I am excited about is my work with the student teachers. During this time of the year, the student teachers from the teaching school go out into the field to observe teachers. I will be working with the student teachers at our school on Thursday mornings. Every Thursday, I will teach the student teachers a Life Skills lesson. It will then be their job to write a lesson to teach the students the next day. I feel this is a more effect way of teaching Like Skills and what not because it will be coming from a host country national. It is also a great opportunity for the student teachers to get some practice.

I am working on doing a big sibling/ little sibling exchange between the local high school and the primary school I work with, but that may be a little down the line.

All in all, I know that February is going to be too short. It's all good though, I am totally up for the challenge... I can honestly say that I have never gone to bed angry/anxious, nor have I woken up angry/anxious due to problems at my new site since being here. In fact, I feel far more integrated into my new community that I ever did at my old community.

Can't wait to tell you all more about life at site!

Ebben Wiley

How did the fashion show go?

Hey guys,

I am so sorry that it has taken me over four months to bring you up to speed on how the fashion show went... I am pleased to inform you that it went REALLY well!

The weaving association we worked with made over 300.000CFA (over 600USD) by the end of the fair from the fashion show, accessories, and orders for fabric at the fair.

Moussa (the shoe guy) made over 100.00CFA (over 200USD) by the end of the fair.

My tailors did pretty well as well. They brought in around 50.000CFA (USD) from the fair.

Work backed up, so the video footage that was taken has not yet been edited. Hopefully I will have that up soon though. Until then, here goes a link to a few unfinished photos from the fashion show. (I will post the other photos by Feb. 4, 2012. Promise.)

Happy bloggin,

Ebben Wiley