26 February 2012
It took us three days to form the board. First I meet with the women, who choose six, the youngest and best-educated. Which means they speak, read and write a little bit of French. Next I meet with the men to decide who will have what posts. The women don’t have time to hang about and chatter. The men will choose their posts. It will be my job to see they don’t get sidelined. We go round and round for hours in three languages. We finally fill all the posts but president. (Rather ironic, given the currant political climate.) We decide to meet the next morning and start again from scratch. As we wait to go into the hall Chérif says to me “It is good when there is a lot of noise at the beginning. It means it will be strong and go a long way.” Finally the board is chosen. Sixteen officers. Everyone who wants to be on the board is on the board in some capacity. That evening Asseyni arrives. He looks at all those assembled like a proud father. He can hardly believe we have accomplished so much, so fast. He’s so impressed he agrees to stay for three days instead of one. Good for the project, but, oh my goodness, he and I worked straight through lunch and dinner every day. I thought my head was going to pop!