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International Women's Day

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Not to worry, amis du blog! I was out of the office for the International Women's Day celebration last Friday (since IWD itself on March 8th was a holiday), and then for a two-day training on environmental, er, stuff. (My mind wandered when we got to the "pesticide action plan.")

International Women's Day entailed wearing the eye-burning pagne but otherwise I was quite happy with our commemoration. The theme was "women and work" and the IWD committee invited four professional Burkinabé women and a selection of girls from two neighboring high schools. Given that the literacy rate among women in Burkina Faso is a measly and shameful 8.1%, it was pretty incredible to hear a number of accomplished women speak of their experiences: the Minister of Basic Education and Literacy, the attorney the office keeps on retainer, a business woman who owns a construction company which built the headquarters of the national water company and a major bank, and a professor of organic chemistry at the university.

They advised the girls to work hard, to pursue as much education as possible, and to try to overcome the difficulties of balancing life and work. All are married with children and spoke of negotiating with their spouses on childcare and work schedules. Two of the women came from modest, rural backgrounds and told of their struggle to convince their families to continue their education. The girls asked a lot of good questions and seemed really inspired and touched to have been invited to participate - as were the guest speakers.

As long promised, here's the photo of us in the Ugly Pagne, with the added bonus of M's "WTF?!" expression. Please refrain from any tart comments regarding my headscarf.

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On March 15th, 2006 12:31 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
That's a cute picture! I love it! You and M look very happy and sparkly (and, yes, a bit WTF?!)...and so does your pagne material. ;-)

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On March 15th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Tart Comment
That photo of you and M is just too precious for words. If I'd been in his shoes, I would have made the same face he did! Smoochies darling!

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[User Picture]
On March 15th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC), ticklethepear commented:
what M is actually thinking
"I only paid $10 for this woman's dowry."
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[User Picture]
On March 15th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC), mynuet commented:
*refrains with difficulty because that is one god-awful print*
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On March 15th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Okay, this will shock probably none of you, but I actually like the print. It's got my two favorite colors in it (green and orange)--what's not to like? I would probably have made it into a cute a-line skirt, and wear it with a little t-shirt (solid color, of course!) and heeled flip-flops.

Call me crazy, but eye-burning not so much of a deterrent to me wearing something. ;)

And very cute picture of you and M! I like his hair a little longer like that--I'm a big fan of the shaggy.

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On March 15th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
The pagne
I don't care what you say, I LOVE that pagne and I think you both look cute in it.
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On March 15th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
More pagne
Sorry -- that was me, forgetting to sign my comment again. You could definitely get away with that print (especially as an A-line skirt) in my 'hood.

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