It's not a secret that I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time. I don't have a degree, experience or any reasonable explanation for how I do what I do...Two weeks ago, I found myself after an intense mountain climb on a broken foot in a remote village in Ethiopia at the foot of an 81 year old momma. She cried at the site of me. I was the first frenji (white) that she had ever seen. She just kept asking how I found them. As I held her, I said, "step after step momma". I can't explain the feeling I had sitting there in the hut with the family....I wonder if they will ever know the honor I felt being with them, sleeping them, eating with them, praying with them...Just a few hours before the climb over the mountain, I sat down with the administration (elders) of Mareya, Ethiopia and discussed what the needs of the community were.
I found myself as I often do..in situations that I can't believe are happening.....
I sat in a canal with the elders of a community surrounding me. All eyes on me. I asked, "What are your main concerns? What Can I do to help?" again, I'm in awe that I am even here!-Then I heard all the men say, "Our women are dying. They need help". I sat there. I listened. I heard the problems. In two minutes I knew the solution. I looked at everyone and offered my solution, which involved overturning a tribal law. Surely...they would know...I'm nobody. I have no business being there and would say, no.
Without discussion, they voted unanimously that the plan was good.
I found out that day...4 out 10 women die DURING delivery. In Mareya there is a health center built by the government. It is only a shell. The nurses lack EVERYTHING. No sheets, curtains, supplies, equipment. Mareya is surrounded by 24 villages (all without electricity/water). Due to outdated and traditional delivery practices they outlawed home births and midwifery because more women were dying due to infection.
Because of this laboring women hiked anywhere from 1-6 hours over a mountain to Mareya. If they made it, then half would deliver only the placenta (the babies were born on the way down), the others were in distress and sent to a better facility, which meant 8-12 more hours of hiking. The laboring mommas are tied to a stick by their belly and carried down. They will die at this point.
What are we going to do?
I told them, I would bring a 4x4 to them. We would provide a vehicle that will transport the women that make it to the clinic a way to the hospital. This alone with impact %40 0f not only laboring mommas, but other patients as well. We also got the elders to allow midwifery again, after we promised training and kits to each village. This alone will save lives! We will also build a better gurney system and stock the existing clinic.
Why? Why do I work with moms when their are 150 million orphans? I will watch a mom buried who died due to preventable causes and leave 6 kids behind who now have NOBODY and will be another number to the already sickening 150 million other kids
The faces I see keep me awake. I do not represent a church, a group, a cause. I am uneducated. I am nothing special.
I am simply a momma who knows that everyone can make a difference.
I am deeply burdened by all I have seen and those I have met. The thing is....I am grateful for this burden. I feel "lucky" to be burdened.
We need to raise 30-35k in less than 3 months. This is the most I have ever attempted to raise in such a short period of time. I'm a little nervous, but more importantly I'm freakin excited to see God move this mountain.
Go to www.BEMM.org to help