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Poverty Alleviation Projects

Dear Adam Roberts and the Ten Dollar a Month Club,

I want to thank you for the immeasurable impact you had on women's health in a fishing village in Senegal. Kafountine is located on the coast in the region of Casamance. Along with 5 other volunteer midwives, I arrived in the village in mid March. With no prior knowledge of the area or what our living situation would be once we got there, it was with wide eyes that I took in the sights and sounds of Kafountine. Dirt roads bordered by little shops, donkey carts the primary traffic, pulsing drumbeats in the air, the smell of fish drying and incense burning. We had arrived, weighted heavily with donated medical supplies and equipped with our hands and curiosity, to spend one month volunteering in the only health clinic in the area. We split into two groups and worked 24 hour rotations at the clinic. In three weeks we assisted with the delivery of 31 new babies (including a set of twins). The days were hot and long followed by busy nights of birth, any possible time for sleep interrupted by the ruckus of the local discotech and scratching of rats in the clinic walls. It was an amazing month. Being present in each moment was the only hope of absorbing all that there was to learn.

A lot was accomplished in a short amount of time. A side room was cleared and drawers installed to hold all of the supplies we brought. We hired men to rebuild an outhouse with two rooms; over 60 women give birth at the clinic each month, and until this project was completed they had no bathroom. We had screens installed in the windows of the postpartum room and bought bug-nets to cover each bed; during rainy season malaria is a deadly killer in the area. Along with the supplies you funded, I was able to bring suture manuals that had been translated into French. I held two education workshops, teaching seven midwives and nurses the skills of newborn resuscitation and reviewing their knowledge of vaginal suturing. They now have the supplies to implement their new skills and to teach others.

Birth in this setting was completely new to me. Women arrived in labor and waited in a small room with a single bed, sometimes two or three at a time, until they were ready to deliver. They lay on a hard delivery bed and pushed their babies out with a bedpan under them, to catch the fluids and aid in cleaning up after the birth. The four Senegalese midwives who ran the clinic had amazing skills in delivering with few supplies. Every glove was as precious as gold. With all of the new supplies available, it was hard to imagine why they were being so modest with the use of them; until the head midwife told us they had completely run out of gloves for a month not long before we arrived, and had to deliver babies barehanded. Hopefully, due to your donations, that wonít happen again this year. We were taught emergency skills to deal with the common complication of vaginal obstruction due to Female Genital Mutilation. Of the 13 women I personally assisted in birth, 100% had suffered FGM and had extensive scar tissue as a result. I used the new ambu-bags and deelees at 3 of the births I attended, breathing new life into babies. Itís unknown what the outcome may have been without this equipment. I sutured a woman with a 3rd degree tear. Before, she would have been sent home to heal as best as she could, simply because there was no equipment available.

Humbled and grateful, I thank you all again for doing your part to change the world.

Hope Jackson

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org