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One of the things we needed to pay attention to with this trip is the amount of money it actually costs to do this. We had no idea how much money to budget, how much things cost or what types of bills we would need to pay. Thanks to the smart planning of my husband, we took extra money to cover the fees (extortion) that is just a way of life in the Congo.

So, as a recap, we paid for:

two Americans to travel to Central Africa, with the proper vaccinations, visas and evacuation insurance
35 women to travel to a conference center
use of the conference center meeting room and accommodations for 8 nights
Food for us and the 35 women (and their children, plus the extra help we had and the women who came in only for the day)
Materials for the attendees
Travel, hotels and food for us as we continued to explore the area and the culture – while making future plans after the conference
Incidental expenses (like the radio, video, use of the electricity, protection with police and army)

And the total cost to train the 53 midwives and beginning the planing for midwives in Central Africa: $15,000

This seems awfully high and really low at the same time. One thing to remember is that we spent about $6000 before we ever left the US, because we needed to travel to the area. We also needed special supplies like water filter bottles and malaria pills.

We will be much better prepared for the next trip.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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