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…..
After 10 days straight of very hard work, we decided we all needed a break. We took the opportunity to go out to the garden for another picnic and at the same time figure out why the solar pump stopped working. Usually solar systems as simple as the one installed in the garden are very […]
We are still waiting for our shipment to clear customs. It is going through a whole new set of traumas, after we had an agreement, they changed their mind and told us the amount would be about 70% of the value of the merchandize PLUS shipping costs which would mean we would be paying almost […]
One begins to understand why businesses do not invest in many developing countries. Corruption is a killer, but even if corruption weren’t involved, government policies really restrict any kind of economic development especially if it involves materials shipped in. We had sent our solar materials before I left in September. After a two week delay […]
Today I met with Gami, the president of the Wodaabe women’s co-op at Fidouk. The women had asked over a year ago, for the loan to build a house for the women to gather and work on their sewing projects. This group is very well organized and masterful at embroidery. Gami is the president and […]
The last couple of days have been full of challenges as usual. The first was we got word that our nurse at the clinic had an accident on the new motorcycle and had to be evacuated to Agadez unable to walk. Then Dr. Komp woke up sick and could not go to the teaching program. […]
One of the most fun jobs I have done since I arrived is preparing to decorate the Tamesna Education center. I had tables made: one for each of four bedrooms, one large dining table a coffee table and two bathroom tables. I sit on my terrace every night after dinner and paint a table.
Today the group had to learn some carpentry in order to make the solar ovens. Finding decent wood was a challenge, but we have two ovens half way done. One will be used for baking our large solar panels with a new method and the other will be half the size and will be used […]
We have a small space in central Agadez, right across the street from the grand 16th century mosque. We have set up the front room as an office, the middle room for the sorting, soldering, The inside room is for sorting, cutting cells and soldering. the next small room for storing equipment and stock, the […]
The first afternoon they sorted cells. The boxes of cells arrive with some broken so we make use of every bit we can. We explained the need to be careful of wasting cells–not to break them or to find the best use of the broken ones. The smallest can be used in Cell phone chargers, […]
Dr. Rich Komp our solar energy expert and Sol de la Torre Bueno a stalwart foundation volunteer arrived by plane from Niamey on the Friday flight. I say this with some pride because it was almost a week of work to get accepted to use the humanitarian flight service of the United Nations. Now that […]