Written by: Jodie Herring
I don’t even know where to begin to start or even to process our first trip with Because Every Mother Matters to Ethiopia. First, I want to thank Steffany, president and the heart behind BEMM. You have a heart bigger than anyone I know and will do anything that it takes to help a fellow sister in need. Your leadership and grace made our trip successful. Thank you Amy, for your guidance and strength. Amy was our photographer and is the vice-president of BEMM. Your love for women and the mothers of Ethiopia was present in your spirit and the priceless pictures that you took. Crystal, it was a pleasure getting to know you. You are a woman filled with life, adventure, and love. You are filled with such courage. Thank you ladies for gracing me with your love of life. I also wanted to thank Gadese and Christiana. For without them there might never been a Because Every Mother Matters. It was an honor to get to know you and your family. Also, a big thanks to Alex, Eyob, Eyuel, and Dawit. Thank you for sharing your country with us and allowing us to ‘ boss you around.’
I wanted to thank Ethiopia for showing us what love and faith looks like. Beauty indeed is what you are made of. Ahmasayguhnahloh!!!
The purpose of this trip to Ethiopia with BEMM was to find mothers and connect with them. We did indeed found mothers and connected with them. We found mothers of all ages and generations. The women, mothers, and sisters all had beautiful souls. Through their smiles, tears, and laughter their light shown through. They had a voice that needed to be heard and shared. The everyday hardships of life and little opportunity afforded them with little hope. However, their faith and hope for life and for their children were permeating out of their small frail bodies. We connected with a 7- month pregnant woman hiking up a mountain miles and miles from her destination in Gimbie. “ Stop” is what I heard back in the bumpy van. Steffany and Alex saw the pregnant mother and told our driver to pull over. They ran down the hill and took off the 80lbs of beans she was carrying from her back. I couldn’t even lift the bag of beans past my knees. The woman clearly has more strength than I will ever have. We took her with us to Gimbie and found out that she lives about 2hr drive to Gimbie. She has a significant chance of delivering her baby at home without any health professional. We ended up giving her a birthing kit where she or a family member can use to help prevent infection to mother and baby during and after delivery. We connected with women who are infected with the HIV virus and need help with their family. They need the proper tools provided so they can themselves sustain a healthy life for them and their children. Organizations like Christian Horizons Global and Hope + Sisterhood Project are working on providing the tools for these women. These women need opportunity and the proper tools. They want to and need to provide for themselves and for their children. It is survival of the fittest and they don’t want to be the bottom of the food chain.
The team headed to Gadese’s village to visit her mom and family. The trip to the village was not planned before arriving to Ethiopia. It was God leading us all the way according to his plan. The first house we arrived to on our hike was a pregnant woman with indigestion like complaints. She delivered her first baby by herself!!! There is no midwife or doctor to deliver her baby. There are around 85 million people living in Ethiopia and about 1 doctor to 40,000 people. Many of these women living in rural villages don’t have the access to healthcare professionals. These women are often laboring for days and week, which often leads to the death to the mother and baby. These women often develop obstetrical fistulas that lead to more social and health complications. Infection and bleeding leads to high maternal death rate of about 1 in 15 births in East Africa. These maternal death rates are preventable with the proper healthcare and education. Women should not be dying in this day and age from improper health care. One more child is now an orphan. An orphan that now has a 15% chance of dying before the age of five. As a citizen of the world we should stand up and say this is not acceptable. Women need to be helping women across the globe. “ Injustice anywhere should be a threat to justice everywhere”~ MLKJ
We now are going to establish a relationship with the village of Tijo and to the pregnant mothers. Its going to be sister helping sister and women helping women. It is going to be a start of a beautiful relationship where women can be validated and dignified. Because Every Mother Matters.