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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First aid introduction to the Fulanis

Submitted by Mathew Porter
The MoM team went back into the Fulani community this last Sunday the 5th of September. We took plenty of pictures, to save us writing, and you reading, a thousand words...

Nurse Lydia and myself, Matthew, went there early Sunday morning. Nurse Lydia had the smart idea to do a little segregation - women, children, and men. A good idea - the children don't disturb the women, and the men don't disturb the women. I got the men, Lydia got the women, and Ilias got the children.

This is Ilias, a 13 year old Fulani boy who is able to read - the only one in the camp. Nurse Lydia looked at his school reports, and said they were impressive. He has volunteered to help us start doing some education for the children and any adults who want it. His english is excellent - Lydia has also inquired at a local school about getting him back in. As a semi-nomad, is was able to end up in school for a couple of years. But as semi-nomad, he also ended up leaving the school.

Nurse Lydia started first aid with the Fulani ladies. Here we see Amina doing a little practical demonstration of wound cleaning on Nurse Lydia that she had learned in the morning. First aid introduction has been very important, and something I have talked about with the community for a year or so. It will take a lot though to get the Fulanis to understand the basics alone. This session, I think one of the only messages that really sank in was the wound cleaning. There are many steps to go from putting herbs and dirty rags in wounds, and we saw a few months ago with Amina's thumb, to cleaning wounds with clean water and soap, using cream if necessary and plasters or bandages. The ladies all did a little demonstration of the cleaning and all did very well.

I took the guys. I wanted to do something different with the guys, but with the first aid going on, they took an interest in that. This is the first time so many guys have come around, which is nice. The most useful things for the men to learn are, it seems to us, is to learn to read, and then perhaps later we could do things with them such as motorcycle and generator maintenance, or maybe some veterinary lessons - although they likely know more than the local vets about livestock already... Still they were very welcome, and enjoyed and learned.

Kids leaving their toys lying around...

I asked Nurse Lydia to come up with a first aid kit for the Fulani community - one that we could use as a standard for other communities in the future. This is a starter/introductory kit, with gentian violet, a few anti septic creams, plasters, cotton, paracetamol. She went through all this, and very specifically the paracetamol. The Fulanis learned something there - big guys still take 500mg max at a time!!! The first aid kit is important because the Fulanis are living in the bush, any small cuts need to be dealt with properly, so they don't end up in hospital a month later with infections. We will be getting together a much more detailed kit in a box with a lock.

Nurse Lydia also found a body chart - to introduce the Fulani children to. They have a lot to learn these kids - reading, anatomy, and english, all in one! But they are smart. In one morning, they learned eyes, nose and mouth, in english, and where they are on their faces. I learned them too, in Fufulde - "hinere", "hitere", "houtourou"!!!

"Hitere!"- Nose!
We will be back in two weeks for more first aid, and more basic education...

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