Great Sites to Look, Listen, and Read

Amidst all the bad news emerging from Mali these days, here are some websites where you can listen to great music and look at wonderful photography. Plus: Our favorite Bambara-language blogger!

Listen – Afropop Worldwide rebroadcasts show on the Festival in the Desert.

To pay tribute to the country we love, we’re encoring our Festival in the Desert 2003 special, featuring some down home tent sessions by Ali Farka Toure, Lobi Traore, Tinariwen, Khaira Arby, Afel Bocoum, Habib Koite, as well as largely unknown artists from Mauritania and Niger. See our beautiful photos and blog postings.

Look: Everyday Africa Photoblog on Tumblr.

Photography by Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill. Two journalists who often work in Africa and, for what it’s worth, two former Peace Corps Volunteers who used to live there (Peter in Ghana and Austin in Ivory Coast).


Read: Fasokan: Aw ye kunnafoniw sɔrɔ bamanankan na yan.

A blog by Bakary Konate, teacher and rural IT promoter in Mali. All of the articles, on village life, folklore, and culture are posted side by side in both French and Bambara. A great resource for brushing up on your Bambara-language skills!


September Project Update

Illustration from page 23 of “Là Où Il N’y a Pas de Docteur”

Things are moving quickly since we first conceived of the idea to translate Where There Is No Doctor into Bambara in the spring of 2012. Our steering committee meets once a month (and has lots of phone calls and emails in between!) I’ll be posting monthly updates here so you can track our progress.

Subscribe to email updates or like us on Facebook to stay in touch. And if you can volunteer to help, email Michelle Chan.

We’ve set up a website (obviously!), and sorted out all the administrative details. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible, and to make sure that all donations will be tax deductible (in the US anyway). All the nitty-gritty details are here.

Our translators in Bamako have finished translating two chapters (about 10% of the book). Now, we are having those chapters undergo proofreading and copy-editing by independent reviewers. (If you are a native Bambara speaker, or know of one that can help us, please get in touch — we could use more help!)

The chapters we chose to translate first were Chapter 1: Home cures and popular beliefs, and Chapter 19: Information for mothers and midwives. (The chapter numbers refer to the English edition, which you can read online here; the numbering is slightly different in the French edition published by ENDA in Senegal.)

All translation and editing is being done by professional translators who are native Bambara speakers. We are paying fair but competitive wages. Paying for translation will be one of our two major expenses, along with printing. Translation of the first two chapters was paid for by donations from Steering Committee members, and a generous startup grant of $1,250 from our sponsoring organization, African Sky.

Illustration from page 20 of “Là Où Il N’y a Pas de Docteur”

Layout & Design
The chapters will be laid out in Adobe InDesign by volunteer Ruth MacDonald. We’ll post PDF copies here on our website and invite comments and feedback. Next comes a very important step.

Field Testing
Our partners in Mali will organize a half-day meeting to “field test” the text. We will invite health workers, representatives from government and NGOs, and others to review the text and offer feedback. Field testing is an important step that Hesperian Health Guides, the publisher of the original Where There Is No Doctor, does for all of its books. The goal is to make sure that the text and images are clear an understandable to the target audience — local health workers who may have little formal education — and that information and advice is appropriate for local conditions.

Launch Party
Next, we’re planning a house party in the San Francisco Bay Area in the Fall, probably in mid-November. This will be a chance to learn more about the project, meet some of the people involved, and of course, enjoy some good food and music. The event will also be a fundraiser — we need to raise money soon to be able to keep our translators busy .

Finally, we are working on a fundraising strategy, and will be submitting proposals and applying for foundation grants. In the meantime, we are soliciting individual donations. Thank you to three former Mali Peace Corps Volunteers and friends who have together donated $400! Individual and family donations will help us to keep paying our translators and keep the project going!

To make a fast, secure online donation, visit our page at First Giving. If you have any ideas or suggestions for fundraising, or can help, please get in touch with Anh Ly.

Refugee Crisis in Mali–How to Help

Since the outbreak of violence in northern Mali in January 2012, thousands of Northern Malians have been forced to flee from their homes. Estimates of the number of refugees vary, but Doctors without Borders estimated that 260,000 had fled their homes as of April 2012. Refugee camps in Niger and Mauritania are crowded, and the living conditions are difficult. Much of the region suffered from drought over the last two years, increasing the difficulty of providing food and water for refugees. 

Marketplace in Mali. Photo by Anh Ly.

We believe our project, to publish Where There Is No Doctor in Bambara, is important and, in the long term, will help contribute to the health and well-being of many Malians. However, it is overshadowed by the acute humanitarian crisis gripping the region. Many friends and colleagues have asked what they can do to help, so here are links to some good organizations.

How You Can Help

There are a number of reputable organizations at work in the region. My wife and I have given to the Red Cross and to Catholic Relief Services. Please consider donating to an organization you believe in. This story from CNN lists several agencies working in the region, and how to contribute. Their list includes Save the Children, Oxfam, World Vision, the UNHCR, and the World Food Program.

If you’re unsure about a charity,  look them up on Charity Navigator. I always look for an organization that spends most of its revenue on “programs,” or money that is spent to help aid recipients. Here are some organizations working directly to help Malian refugees: