Just a quick update about what we’ve been up to.
Please welcome Thierno (pronounced with a “ch”–french spelling), the newest member of our family:
Paul and I have been making our way slowly through the month of Ramadan. The first morning, a neighbor woke the entire neighborhood with his good intentions to remind all to eat an early breakfast before the rising of the sun. He did this by banging on a bucket while running up and down the dirt road that passes by our house. Since then, Paul and I have been fasting halfway—ranging between going the day with only sips of water to eating full meals cooked at the regional house. But as tradition commands, we’ve been breaking fast every evening with dates and tea loaded with milk and sugar (and on good days, a cooler of ice to make a yogurt drink that I adore).
We are finally settling into our neighborhood. I’ve been going around doing a small baseline survey of our neighborhood to understand what some of the health/environmental issues are. So far, I’m seeing lots of issues with malnutrition (among children typically). In addition, I have been helping each Monday and Thursday with baby-weighings and vaccinations at the local health post. I’ve been working my way up to where I can now help fill out information and weigh babies. The health post here has a progressive malnutrition ward that helps women with kids ages 0-5 years who have either health issues or low weight. They get together to cook porridges, milk, and lunch while also discussing some health issues. I am hoping to survey women at this ward and at the baby vaccinations to get a better understanding of what types of factors lead to malnutrition in Ndioum. My guesses are: premature giving of water/weaning foods to children younger than six months and poor maternal nutrition/hygiene.