We have just completed a mission to train 8 traditional birth attendants in Iferouane. These women previously had their first training, conducted by Assalama, an experienced Traditional Birth Attendant herself, without the presence of our American medical team. We are working hard to turn this program over to local staff. COVID has forced our hand. […]
For many years we have worked in Mali to try to make a difference when its people are suffering from the violence of terrorist groups who have taken over much of the country. This work is directed by Charlene Pidgeon and our local representative in Mopti, Abdoulaye Diallo. Here is a letter he recently wrote […]
Niger elections are in full swing as we speak. We have among the candidates for regional and national offices–six friends running. Every one of them we have known and worked with for at least ten years. We are very proud that our work together has led to visibility that encouraged them to run. They are […]
Last year, when we visited the school in Iferouane, Niger where we had helped them repair the roof which had blown off, we found the kids doing their studies kneeling on the ground–they needed desks.
Dr. Bob Skankey, although he is no longer traveling to Niger, is still a very active board member of the Nomad Foundation and as he has done all his life–is determined to improve people’s health. With his support, we are starting a program to address one of the biggest killers in the region where we […]
We are all navigating the major disruptions in our lives that COVID-19 has brought. I hope you are all doing that successfully and in good health. Some of the necessary changes have not been all bad. We have been trying for many years to find a way for our programs to be completed entirely by […]
The population of nomads we work with is very isolated, but they must on occasion visit a crowded market to do their shopping. In the hot, dry season which is happening now, Wodaabe women often leave the country, traveling south to Nigeria, Benin, Togo or Ivory Coast, or west to Mali to sell their traditional […]
The only way to insure that our matrone training program continues in the long-term is to turn it over to local staff. We have been inching toward this for many years. The biggest step yet was possible when during our last mission we learned that all the essential materials we provide to new trainees […]
One of the most satisfying aspects of our missions is to observe nomadic women helping one another achieve better health and safer pregnancies. Each year their achievements grow along with their confidence and knowledge. In addition, it is always an enormous pleasure to reconnect with our nomad friends and colleagues despite the limitations in direct […]
Besides all the work and projects that you have been reading about in this blog, I thought I’d try to give you an idea of what the travel is like–not the airplane–you all know about that. I can’t really give you (and don’t want to) the bone crunching experience of driving off road through the […]
Since the beginning of the Traditional birth attendant program with Dr. Bob Skankey in 2012 we have worked toward the goal of sustainability. We had thought we had a trainer to take over the program in Achicha, a nurse who helped us for four years. But she decided to get married and move to France, […]
Every year for 15 years we have done some kind of project in Iferouane, a community that has proved to be very industrious and very worthy of the things we do. After severe flooding last year we helped rehabilitate potato gardens. Still suffering from the loss of their herds in that flooding, this year we […]
We got to Iferouane after and exhausting two day drive–the highlight was stopping at Dabous the magnificent neolithic carving of a giraffe–considered to be one of the best in the world. It is life size! The road was so terrible we arrived to a welcoming committee after sunset–so the planned party was very short and […]
We had been so busy with the matrone program that we have felt the clinic and school need more of our attention…next year I’m going to have the kids paint another mural for the school. Those who painted the last one in 2013 have mostly graduated to junior high. Can’t wait. We did have a […]
Arrival at Tamesna is kind of like coming home. We put up our decorations (wall hangings, paintings by guess who, fairy and solar lights in the trees) and settled in to await the arrival of the matrones in the afternoon. Dr. Becky and Pat packed the pills that the matrones need for their work and […]
As I always do–I post our news after I have returned from the mission in Niger. (security reasons) I am sitting in the Paris airport for a few hours so I might as well get started. After the same looooonnnnnngggg trip from LA to Agadez that I have done for 25 years I arrived at […]
Nominees announced for 2019 Santa Barbara Peace Prize By MITCHELL WHITE, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER August 18, 2019 12:17 AM The United Nations Association of Santa Barbara and Tri Counties has announced the nominees for the 2019 Santa Barbara UNA Peace Prize. The nominees are: Evie Treen, founder of Friends of Woni International that builds wells […]
Rebecca Keene Jones, MD. PhD and Patricia Manzon MSN, CNE presented the work of the Nomad Foundation at the 12th Annual Johns Hopkins Women’s Health Research Symposium. Known to us as Dr. Becky and midwife Pat, they have been working hard, running our training program for nomadic traditional birth attendants since 2016. This poster summarizes our […]
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 […]