Linda Lamb, Doctor Bob and wife Louine finally arrived today so there are no more scattered volunteers wandering the planet trying to hone in on Agadez. Before Linda left California, she received a donation from Sherrill Asador-Waters (a teacher and garden club friend) who wanted to help out–especially in education. This very first day of […]
Since internet is pretty sporadic in Agadez, my terrace, which had internet from 6PM to 8 AM and on weekends pretty reliably has become a hub. Hannah and Sidi and connected here and we are all skyping the rest of the world. It is really fun.
Maybe things are getting better. Hannah finally arrived today on the World Food Program Plane. She wasn’t the only one stuck because of it–she flew in with the Governor of Agadez who was also delayed in Niamey for two days. We decided to go straight out to the garden since this trip had been postponed […]
Oh the joys of working in Africa. Hannah’s flight to Agadez was cancelled—the plane broke down and is now supposedly repaired today Wednesday. All the plans here in Agadez have been postponed. Next I get a call from California, Paris and Niamey saying the AIR FRANCE flight is cancelled. So the wandering volunteers get to […]
Our first volunteer, Hannah Armstrong was set to arrive on a flight today from Niamey. Just got word that the flight was cancelled because of technical problems with the plane. Very typical scenario in Africa. Hope it doesn’t happen to the three who arrive on Wed. I wonder when she will finally get here? Stay […]
Trying to put more into the hands of the students and local staff, we had a meeting–most of the Wodaabe came, but only a couple of Tuareg. The Wodaabe who came were asking for a per diem, which we had given the first two trainings. It always went against the grain for me because we […]
I have gone silent since my departure from the US 10 days ago. This is the lengthy process of getting here. Three days from LA to Niamey. Preparing things in Niamey and then in Agadez. Authorizations need to be gotten to go into the bush. The local staff needs briefing about the mission and I […]
I am in Paris on the way to prepare for another medical mission in Niger at the Tamesna Clinic. We will also conduct a follow up training for the midwives and then conduct a mobile mission to visit the nomadic camps where we work. I will be joined in early Feb. by Dr. Bob Skankey, […]
I have been involved with the responsibility for the health and well being of thousands in different parts of the world, have done complex surgery that has relieved suffering and saved lives, but I think that what we did this trip to train midwives who will themselves then save many mothers and babies lives for […]
I would like to thank Leslie for giving me the opportunity to work with the Nomads of Niger. Working with the Tuareg and Wodaabe have allowed me the realization that service in and of itself is the ultimate reward. Flying into Agadez from Niamey on a United Nations flight was the equivalent of going first […]
To summarize and amazingly productive trip–in spite of all the frustrations we got it done. To start out with, because of fears for our security we were forced to pay for a 20 man security detail. But-inspite-of taking a big chunk out of our budget, they turned out to be very competent, we had NO […]
All the ladies passed their exams, and deserved to graduate from the program. Because much of the program was financed by the Rotary Club, each graduate received a pin from Rotary demonstrating her successful completion of the program.
Essential to each midwife’s equipment was lighting provided by Unite to Light in Santa Barbara. Here Miriam demonstrates how she will use it.
After several demonstrations, explanations and trials, each woman was required to go through the birth process as she understood it using all the techniques she had learned. Fatima successfully completes her exam–I am only acting as the woman giving birth to push out the baby. The next part of the exam was to go through […]
Dr Skankey very carefully planned and organized the medicines necessary for the midwives. He labeled according to their ability to read and then went through several repetitions of explanations of the use and dosage. Then Aicha interpreted the explanations in the two different languages necessary. This was a crucial process as the medications, in addition […]
Every day the midwife training continues in the morning with Dr. Bob, Aicha, and either me or Rachel and the clinic continues treating patients with Dr. Agak, Ali, Ramatu, with Louine and either Rachel or me at the pharmacy. Every day the patients increase. Word spreads fast in the nomadic territory. The Soldiers guarding us […]
Keeping bacteria to a minimum is essential in the delivery of a newborn to prevent dangerous infection in both the mothers and babies. The midwives were issued gloves and taught the proper way of putting them on. They, after some struggle, succeeded. The midwives were issued important equipment to help them deliver babies safely. Most […]
The medical mission got underway today, now that the fete of Tabaski is over I guess people are free to be sick. There was a line on the first day that increased every day for five days. Here Louine and Rachel organize […]
Dr. Skankey brought a pelvic mannequin (in the appropriate color even) to go through the whole process with the midwives. Sol had to leave us today so we gathered with the team for a final photo. Ali, Azarra, Sol, Mariam, Taiboune, Leslie, Dr. Bob,Aicha, Inainou,Louine, Fatima, and Rachel.Sol had to leave us today so we […]
Four of the solar students showed up at the center–we are really in the middle of nowhere–and installed the electric system. They worked for four days according to Rich’s plan and got it done. We now have lights, plugs, and ICE! Because our materials did not get through customs in time, they did not have […]
The midwife training program started by first stating that the best option is always to go to a clinic or maternity care facility. Knowing that this is nearly impossible for many women and undesirable for others we are trying to put equipment and knowledge in the hands of local women to help the pregnant women […]
The five midwives arrived from five communities with whom we have worked for many years. What a group of women!
Knowing that tomorrow is going to be a very long day with the start of both the midwife training and the medical treatments at the clinic we decided to give Sol a going away party a day early. Alhassane played his guitar. The two Wodaabe midwife trainees and one Tuareg were there and a drunk […]
We are required as always to have major security with us at all times. This means 20 armed men and two big gun pick up trucks. I caught this shot of Louine, one of the most gentle people on the planet in the midst of local activity en route to the clinic. The sheep […]
Before we left Agadez our final step was to hang the NOMAD ENERGIE SOLAIRE sign in the office.
Our education center is very comfortable and will function well. It will get better over time. Right now we get our water on a donkey cart Since the midwife trainees are all coming in from distant camps we are building a nomads tent in the courtyard so that they have a place to stay. They […]
We arrived never having seen the finished building, so were more than a little apprehensive. The pictures looked good. Although there are some flaws–it is not perfect nor is it to American standards, but it is comfortable–considering the alternative (in tents). We will gradually make it magnificent, but after all it is practical. Here it […]
Bob and Louine had three very full bags each stuffed with vitamins and medical equipment for the training program and medical clinic. Bob demonstrates new born resuscitation.
With the delay because of Tabaski we had two extra days to prepare. Bob went very carefully through the five days of training, rehearsing and discussing each step with each person playing his role and going through all the various translations (English, Bob, French Sol or me, Tamachek Aicha or Ali and Hausa, Aicha. […]
Dr. Bob Skankey, his wife Louine and Rachel Diana Charles Phillips arrived on the humanitarian plane from Niamey on Friday and solar Rich left on the same plane. We stayed one night in Agadez and headed out the next morning to see the new finished education and visitors center. I will wait until I get […]
The students got their diplomas today. First we chose the best panel and awarded Djabo the solar T shirt for doing the best job.
Today was the final day of the program. It actually worked out OK that the materials to make the large panels never arrived–they are still in customs limbo–but we got our NIF–so maybe someday they will be liberated. Because the students weren’t focused solely on making panels they learned a lot of other things. Like […]
Our biggest challenge to date, besides customs of course, has not been teaching the concepts of solar energy, but instilling the idea of straight, square or precise. I decided to try to clean up one of the panels and make it prettier so they could see the difference. So they set to sanding, filling gaps […]
I spent the day in various offices trying to get our shipments of solar equioment which had finally arrived in Agadez. After some seven offices (this after paying $500 to a customs clearing agent in Niamey to do it) we got the packages released on condition that we complete our NIF which we have been […]
The first rice cooked in the solar oven was sampled by all. Pretty good.
The solar ovens were put to work today. The small one cooked a pot of rice and the big one a solar panel. The students could not believe how hot they got without even any solar cells used–just glass, wood, insulation and metal. Cooking a 65 watt panel
A generous donation of 100 solar lights from Unite to Light in Santa Barbara, CA. will lead to some new businesses for the nomads. We distributed them to each of our students for which they signed an agreement to pay. They will do a publicity campaign with these examples and take orders for more. The […]
The crew happily displays their new potential businesses. The panels which they are paid $5 each to make they can buy for $10 and resell for $15 or they can use them to earn money by charging cell phones for friends.
We managed to get transit papers to get our solar materials out of the airport. They are in the hands of our clearing agent with a transit paper which allows us to clear customs in Agadez. We thought we were home free, until the bus refused to take the merchandise as its $4000 value is […]
The solar ovens are nearing completion and we will find out today about our customs deal — we are hoping for transit papers so we can clear customs in Agadez. The new challenge–as we wait for Dr. Skankey and the medical volunteers to arrive–is an Air France strike. oh well…..