On social media, new mothers can bake bread in their skinny jeans whilst blissfully nursing their newborns, who also sleep through the night. Volunteers on medical missions can miraculously save lives on shoestring budgets staffed by highly skilled, selfless providers in dangerous environments. As a mother and obstetrician on many missions, I see these boast-posts […]
Iferouane, known as the gateway to the dunes has been a very important community to the Nomad Foundation–we have worked remotely with them for years, but never done a training there. They asked us and we responded–the bright side of driving two exhausting days over rubble and craggy, tire eating rocks is that the return […]
On Graduation day for the matrones we called together 15 jewelers chosen in advance and distributed 15 sets of jewelry tools generously donated by Toolbox initiative. And then they threw us a party ALL THIS JUST FOR US….WOW!
After devastating floods hit Iferouane last summer, destroying homes, gardens and livestock, they asked for help. With a grant from Rotary we were able to help 19 gardeners replant.
After finishing up at Tamesna we headed out for the great unknown–even though I have been there many times, there are always many unknowns when you go to the dunes–(like are we going to get back alive!) First we were taking our training to a new group of women. We took along one of our […]
We had all too short a time to visit the kids at the school. Return to school for nomads is an approximate date since many parents are out on their annual migration and students are given flexible return dates to accommodate their parents. 26 students had returned but more are on the way. All nine […]
Since Dr. Bob Skankey started the program in 2012, we have been training traditional birth attendants at Tamesna. Some have been there from the beginning. When Dr. Becky Jones and her mid-wife sister Pat Manzon took over the program in 2016 it became an all female team with Tamesna clinic director Rabi. The matrones had […]
Tamesna clinic patient numbers increase every year because of our reputation: A respectful welcoming, caring clinic director and a constant supply of good medicine. Bearing a generous donation of medicine from Direct Relief International we resupplied Tamesna clinic.
Nomads move around alot–the camel was always the best means of transportation in their desert land–then for the “wealthy” the Toyota Land Cruiser took its place. For the average nomad a 4WD Toyota is way beyond their means, but a motorcycle costs about the same as a camel–and moves a lot faster–of course the down […]
We are headed soon to Niger with a full schedule and many suitcases full of materials to make all our programs happen. Right now a program is taking place which is training 20 young nomads how to repair motorcycles–their camels, I guess, are too slow. The motorcycles are very useful–last year one of our students […]
It is time to prepare for our next mission to Niger in October. Dr. Becky Jones and midwife Pat Manzon will recertify our existing traditional birth attendants at Tamesna and expand the program to Iferouane–a remote community known as the gateway to the dunes. We have worked with them for 20 years, helping with artisanal, […]
As the floral henna design fades from my feet, thoughts of Tamesna and Niger sneak into my consciousness. It is cool here on the east coast which I have been enjoying as a pleasant change. The heat of the desert can at times seems all enveloping, annoyingly, relentlessly, hot. It is difficult for me […]
I departed the US on October 3 and up until that date, was repeatedly required to explain the location and importance of Niger to anyone I could engage about my mission. Forty-eight hours later, when I arrived in Agadez, Niger had catapulted into American consciousness with the tragic loss of US special forces agents and […]
We made visits to the Agadez maternity—where by chance a baby was born while we were standing there, the Agadez hospital and the American military base (who asked us not to post our photos). They live isolated in air conditioned tents surrounded by concrete barriers, razor wire and a huge ditch. They are frustrated because […]
Our work at Tamesna was not yet done. We got the community together to create a management committee for the clinic. We have a very good reputation and as a result, are turning a profit beyond the cost of replacement meds and supplies so this money needs to be managed and the decisions as to […]
Having finished the matrone training we got ready to go to a big Wodaabe festival. This was supposed to happen last year and got postponed, so I was anxious for the new team to see this remarkable thing. We had a morning to kill since it was windy and we knew the dancing would not […]
All ten of our top class graduated from grammar school and were accepted in junior high school, but there are none available in the “bush” where the nomads live so we thought long and hard to find the best solution for the kids and their parents. At first we thought to create a location in […]
Our grammar school at Tamesna started earlier than most bush schools because we have a committed director in Assadek (back left) There were already 27 kids present and we expect 15 more. 10 graduated to junior high for which they had to go to Ingal and Agadez.
Eyes on Africa once again comes through with hundreds of pairs of readers and sunglasses which we distributed all through our mission. We left 100 readers and 100 pairs of sunglasses at the clinic for Rabi to distribute as needed. We are working on a mission to do cataract operations next year, but maybe these […]
After four intense days of training on the last day Dr. Becky and Pat went over complications at birth, administered exams to verify the level of comprehension—and happily everyone passed. We were visited by the Prefect of Ingall, who is the governmental leader of the commune and the Tuareg traditional chief over all the communities […]
The traditional birth attendants we have been training since 2012 with Dr. Bob Skankey and now for that last two missions, with Dr. Becky Jones are known in Niger as matrones. The previously trained matrones brought their medical bags and their reports. Fatima again is in the lead with 70 deliveries since May. Tinzere […]
Although I am now back in Agadez having completed our mission I am now able to post with photos–so here we go from the beginning. We arrived at Tamesna midmorning and started packing pills, preparing the matrones medical bags and matrones began to arrive. Following in Dr. Bob Skankey’s footsteps is not an easy task—given […]
Dr, Becky and her midwife sister Pat arrived with the many bags of meds, donated by Amani at Medicine shoppe Ojai, Direct Relief International and Sunglasses and readers by Eyes on Africa, plus supplies they (and we)had purchased.
Today is a big day for the top class at Tamesna school. Most nomad kids stop school at the end of grammar school if they even go at all. This is because the only junior high schools are in towns and many have never even been to town. We are constructing a new elementary school […]
So many old friends and new got together to celebrate the US premier of Benedicte Schoyen’s film Roadtrip Niger. The event raised $23,912 for the Nomad Foundation…Thank you to all who supported it. Hope you enjoyed the event.
GET TICKETS A film about the adventures of the filmmakers in a country as far from home as imaginable, to discover the nomadic tribes of Niger, the vast, unforgiving and breathtaking Sahara desert, and the work of the Nomad Foundation. Film, music, appetizers, no host bar & silent auction to benefit the Nomad Foundation.Special Tuareg guests from […]
Two years into what my sons describe as a lackluster retirement from a hectic career in midwifery and nursing education, I was delighted and excited to be invited as a volunteer on a mission with the Nomad Foundation in Niger, Africa. My obstetrician sister, as the new medical director, invited me to travel and work […]
Since returning from Niger, I have shared photos and stories from the trip with many people. These encounters have helped me appreciate the importance of the mission while at the same time alerting me to questions in the minds of people unfamiliar with Niger and nomadic peoples. The Project: I have had the good […]
Benedicte Schoyen wanted me to show the film she had made to the people who were in it and those most interested–who live in Niger. The film is about the Nomad Foundation’s work in Niger and the voyage of the American filmmakers, new to Niger, in 2013.
The second day of our trip we were invited to a wedding at the Wodaabe community of Foudouk. So even though we all work like slaves, we have a lot of fun too!!!
It is sometimes difficult for nomadic parents to send their children to school because it takes them away from their work as herders. We, not only do not want them to lose this skill, but want to bring new ideas to traditional herd management through the children at school. To this end we proposed to try a […]
Tamesna school is rare in Niger because we support extra curricular programs that bring new opportunities for the students. Music, particularly guitar is an important tradition to all Tuareg who have lived through recent rebellions, but now that there is peace, the older rebellion musicians are no longer teaching the Tuareg guitar tradition to the young. […]
Tamesna school continues to thrive under the direction of Assadek. As advised by the inspector of schools, nine students are skipping fifth grade to become candidates to go to junior high school next fall 2017. This will be a challenge. It is at this stage that most nomadic children drop out because there are no […]
Corrector glasses and sunglasses are a rare commodity in Niger and largely unavailable to nomads. Nomadic women do very fine embroidery and leather work which they would be fully capable of doing after they reach 40 years of age, if only they could see. Everyone’s eyes are damaged by the brutal sun and cataracts are […]
In its third year, our microcredit program is designed to promote peace and stability. The loans are made to young men at risk of leaving their home to seek opportunities elsewhere: usually Libya or Algeria, prosperous, but highly unstable countries. If they have no way of earning a living at home they may be tempted by […]
The program began with visits to the remote mobile camps of the traditional birth attendant trainees (matrones) in order to introduce the new medical team to the population and for the team to observe the conditions under which our matrones work. Our next stop was Tourgite where we talked to Rahamata and Malou and proudly […]
Niger is no stranger to catastrophe and this mission was no different—maybe somewhat more extreme than most. Arriving there I got news that there was an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever—no cases yet in our area, but it caused the government to react by forbidding the export of livestock (Niger’s second largest export after uranium)) […]
One of our favorite communities, because they are so hard working, is Iferouane. We have started women’s co-ops and worked for many years with their jewelers to produce the jewelry available at Nomad Gallery. This year they proposed a new venture: raising poultry. Thanks go to Rotary and Tom and Cathryn Krause for funding this […]