I spent all of my Agadez time working with the remarkable Mariama Moussa, a nurse, who was helping us translate the medical films we use in the traditional birth attendant training program into Tamachek. The trainees will no longer need to have them interpreted from French. Pat Manzon and Dr. Becky discovered these films and we have been using them in the last three trainings and our local staff, Rabi and Assalama use them too. The problem is they are mostly in French, so Pat got permission for us to translate them from Global Health Media and Medical Aid films, the two companies that produce them with unrestricted access for anyone. Believing this to be the wave of the future, the project was spearheaded by John Massey from England. It proved to be a massive challenge: finding the correct dialect of Tamachek and Fulfulde, someone with the technical computer skills to create transcripts, someone with the computer skills to record and finally splice them into the films. This effort has involved many volunteers including a Wodaabe man from Taouha, Riskouwa for Fulfulde translation, a Rotarian from Ojai, Sean helped with creating transcripts and making them into DVD’s. Rabi and Assalama will now be able to show them on DVD players bought with a Rotary Grant. After several other Tamachek translators either dropped out or spoke the wrong dialect. We ended up with our last straw me and Mariama. She was brilliant, but the next challenge was getting them onto the films. John, after getting the recordings from me spliced them onto a test film which I could view online, but the internet speeds were too slow to download it onto my computer so I would be able to show the matrones out in the bush where there is no internet at all. Finally we found one film small enough to download onto my computer. I showed it to the Tuareg at Tamesna and this was their reaction.
To address the challenges of how our trainers can show these films we purchased through a Rotary grant, two media players. They are simple to operate on battery power for 5 hours and can be recharged by current or car. Here I am presenting them to an excited Rabi, our trainer at Tamesna and Assalama our trainer at Iferouane.
Without enough time to translate all 8 of the films, Mariama and I met again after the mission to finish them off. Now Tuareg will have the essential films needed to provide training for prenatal care, safe births and newborn care.
After they are approved by their producers, Global Health Media and Medical Aid Films, these films will be provided free to all. We plan to give them to the National Health system of Niger so our work will expand to all Tamachek and Fulfulde speakers who need them. Thanks to all who participated in this challenge—Rotary who funded the media players and provided technical assistance and especially John Massey who spliced the translations onto the films. This project would never have been realized without his persistence.