Nov. 23 – Réunion des Femmes

All the village grandmothers gathered in a circle

All the grandmothers in the village flocked to the poste de santé for a meeting, and they were all two hours late. Patience is a cultural value here and time is certainly not an issue. These monthly meetings are run by Philo, Fatou, Eliane and the village chief’s son and are sponsored by WorldVision.

my eyes are closed but this is mid-curtsy while passing out water

All the lovely women

As people were still trickling in, I went around and dished out a cup of water for the 76 women attending and curtsied before handing the cup over (which they all laughed and loved). Of course, my attire was “meeting appropriate” by wearing my Taibas. These meetings are crucial to ensuring the public health of the community, a time for the grandmothers to be aware of any national health issues and a place for them to voice their own concerns regarding health. A mother in general, is considered to be ‘the pillar of the family’ in Senegalese culture. Young mothers look to the guidance and wisdom of their husband’s mothers before making a big decision. 

The best way to start any meeting – Senegalese style – by dancing!

As I was sitting there, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, these women sitting here have the power to literally change the lives of a whole village.” It’s a collaboration between government (the Ministry of Health), NGO, and the local community. That’s the kind of influence that a foreign aid development organization dreams of having. And my poste de santé with the help of WorldVision was able to have this influence. That’s powerful! 

By the time the réunion was done, it was dark out

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