The Red Cross Ngaoundere chapter is full of dynamic staff and volunteers and they were more than open to extend their services. Their usual local development work includes organizing high school Red Cross clubs, providing first aid trainings and assistance, and sensitizing the community on physical health issues.
For our training series, a new population was targeted: illiterate mothers that spend the majority of the day in the household. They're the caretakers of their children and the whole neighborhood's children. They're the ones that will be teaching their treatments to others because let's face it, you eat chicken soup when you're sick because that's what your mother fed you as a child; you put aloe vera on burns because you had an aloe plant in your house growing up.
Today was our Basic First Aid session tailored specifically for everyday situations. The Red Cross holds a 5.000CFA ($10US) intensive month-long course, but everything was simplified into a 500CFA ($1US) one-day course of the need-to-know basics.
As most women were illiterate, the class was highly interactive and required no note-taking. We covered common problems such as motorbike burns (motobike is the main means transport in the city), tree falls (as children climb during mango season), and kitchen cuts (women spend hours in traditional kitchens).
The Red Cross members translated from French into the local language of Fulfulde and we discussed when individuals could handle accidents by themselves, when it would be appropriate to visit a traditional medicine man, and when it would be necessary to go to the hospital. Very culturally appropriate and the women loved it!