One of the most important reasons for gathering all our trainees together is for them to form friendships and share their experiences. It is a wonderful way to learn and was gratifying to see the old friendships renewed and new ones forming.
Mariama and Azarra are both Wodaabe women who live very far apart. They have been with us since the very first training with Dr. Bob Skankey in 2012 and have formed a fast friendship. They are both among our best matrones and are also community leaders. Mariama was elected her district representative to the national government and Azarra’s husband holds that office in her region.
After some lobbying on their part and recognizing the need for more capable trainers, we agreed to train a team of Mariama, Azzara and Abarta (who ran our malaria prevention program for the Wodaabe in Tagoudoumt in 2020) to take over some training responsibilities for the Wodaabe as Fatima has for the Tuareg. Just one more step toward expansion and turning it over.
And at night the party begins…
The matrones are all dynamic women from their communities and several of them are good singers. They pull out a plastic jerrycan for a drum and entertain us with their songs. They are telling stories about what is going on–I just wish I could understand their words.
For years I have been accumulating local clothing in a large chest that was moved to Tamesna after the sale of my house in Agadez. I decided the matrones could make better use of it than I so we set the clothes out in stacks and had a lottery.
So when our days together were done we had learned, laughed, danced, sang, worked hard, cemented old friendships and made new ones.