Getting ready for our November trip!  A full agenda has us working hard to prepare.  
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November is coming fast!

We aim to leave for Sierra Leone during the first week of November, and return in mid-December.  "We" includes Chris McManus, MOMS President, Elizabeth Price, a great volunteer who'll be making her third trip with us, and me, Trish Ross.  

We (the US team plus Jitta Rogers-Seisay, our faithful and excellent staffer) have a lot of items on our agenda:

  • Train a new cohort of about 30 women to become new MOMS Community Health Workers.  
  • Continue training our four student trainers (including Jitta).
  • Attend a Jamboree to conduct continuing education classes and celebrate.
  • AND, if we get a grant we applied for, we'll begin a special suite of classes about female genital cutting.  

The New Class

The new class will be held among old friends!  We return to Ngolahun, where we built a clinic in 2009 and trained a class in 2013, to teach a "backfill" class.  We've invited each group from the Kailahun District to send several new students to replace women who have died, retired, or moved away.  This will ensure good coverage in each of those areas, and the new students will share changes in the curriculum.

This class is part of our commitment to the communities where we train.  Lasting change requires an ongoing relationship.  Returning like this maintains the trust that we carefully earned.  

The Train-the-Trainer

Four women started our train-the-trainer program last spring.  In November, we will spend about a week teaching them how to teach, then they'll help us teach the class in Ngolahun.  

We'll repeat this process once more in the spring of 2017.  So after three sessions of the train-the-trainer program, they'll be ready to launch!  By next summer, they will travel in pairs to teach new groups without Chris or me there.  

This will save a lot of money, free us to go to other language groups, and expand the program much faster.  We intend to repeat this process with another language group starting next fall.  Cool, yes?? :-)


The village of Pellie, our first site, is planning a Jamboree, where we will conduct continuing education, work on issues and questions, and celebrate.  They are eager to welcome the MOMS team and all their "MOMS Sisters" to the Jamboree. 

(The women from Pellie are proud of their village - and the fact that Ebola never reached it, thanks to their setting up hand-washing stations and checkpoints for travelers even before the Government recommended it.  They applied what they learned from us proactively, and saved their village much grief.)

We are adapting the Girl Scout model of having concentrated areas of learning and awarding "badges" for those who prove their skill in those areas.  We will start with three topics:  Breast Health, Nutrition, and Grief Support.  

This is very cool, indeed.

Below is a photo over Ngolahun, the site of the upcoming class, at sunset.  
sunset over Ngolahun

A Great Possibility!

We applied for a grant.  Actually, this is common -- we often apply for grants!  But this is from the US Embassy for agencies who educate about female genital cutting.  Well, you who have followed us know that many of our students are the "Sowies" who conduct these coming-of-age rituals.  After taking MOMS course, the Sowies have decided that cutting is not good, and they have either stopped completely or changed the ritual so they do not cause damage.  

If we get the grant, we will begin conducting additional educational programs for our new trainers, the women we have already trained, the clinic staff, and upcoming classes.  

We are waiting anxiously for news about the status of the grant.  We'll let you know.  In the meantime, please send good vibes.  

Below are Ngolahun students in 2013 listening closely to the instructor.  
Ngolahun students

And the Future....

We are always planning the future classes.  Because our success is based on strong relationships, we - mostly Jitta Rogers-Seisay, our Master Trainer - often start working with the communities a year or more before the class.  We meet the stakeholders and outline the program, its results, and requirements.   By the time the class starts, we are acquainted with many of the people and enter easily into a partnership.  

So, we are talking with several groups.  We hope to teach soon at Mary Jane Lavin-Seisay's village of Pendembu in the north, return to the Tikonko area, and teach more classes in both the Kailahun and Pujehun Districts.  Our new trainers will work with some of these groups when they are certified, which takes a huge load off my mind.  

We have been invited to teach in several areas in the north, west, and central areas, but have not yet begun real conversations.  Dr Bohm, in the Pujehun District wants us to teach everywhere in the area.  

Below is a picture of Pellie, where we will have the Jamboree, after a rainstorm.  

Make It So!! 

Obviously, we have plenty of opportunities to change the world for thousands of women.  And, obviously, our biggest needs are money and volunteers.  

We have a new way for you to help!  

If you have an old vehicle, you can donate it via CARS.  Click this link to a web page that will walk you through the process - CARS will tow your vehicle if necessary, and your gift is tax-deductible!

You can volunteer in several ways:  
  • Teaching classes in Sierra Leone
  • Leading MOMS as a member of the Board of Directors
  • Hosting fundraisers
  • Helping with writing and editing
Many of you do not have the time or energy to give as a volunteer.  While we love our volunteers, we know that not everyone can do this.  

You can help in other ways.  
  • Use your PayPal account or a credit card.  The processing fee is low, and the deposit is automatic and fast.
  • With  iGive, AmazonSmile, or Giving Assistant, you designate MOMS as beneficiary.  When you shop, the vendor donates to us.
  • Contact your employers' matching gift program manager to get matching funds from your employer.  
  • Use Razoo.  They take a chunk for processing, but it works!
  • Write a check to MOMS at PO Box 1656, Gualala, CA  95445. 

Bai-kah-kah (thank you very much)

We rejoice in the work we do.  It is so hard sometimes, and so worth every moment of struggle, every fear! 

You, obviously, are critical to our success.  You make it happen.  

We ask your continued support.  Please pray.  Please volunteer.  Please give.

Thank you, thank you. 

Trish Ross and Chris McManus

Contacting MOMS…

We want to hear from you, so we make as easy as we can.  

Mailing address:  PO Box 1656, Gualala, CA  95445
Web site:
Phone:  707-884-3621

MOMS is a 501(c)(3)  so gifts usually are tax-deductible.  Our Employee ID Number, EIN, is 93-1254632.     
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