I received an email from Flory tonight and can not believe how amazing this training is becoming. This is what he writes: “Again, I thank God for what this training will achieve in Africa. I have been contacted by one of my pastors who have told me that he is going to send to the training a MUTWA Woman or Pygmee woman. These people are the uncivilised first habitants of Africa and have not responded to civilisation. Many of them live in deep forest far from people and don’t like to wear clothes. They don’t have either clinic, pharmacy nor school. But, our church isRead More →

Victoria Bentley is a psychologist from California who has been working with Flory Zozo on the Women’s Trauma and Healing Center. She was in DR Congo in June and is leaving again shortly – I will have the opportunity to meet her while there. You can see some of the amazing work being done by Foundation Chirezi through the pictures and stores of at Victoria’s blog: Healing Trauma in DR CongoRead More →

WorldMapper.org creates maps that depict the proportion of various traits around the globe and lets you compare them to the traditional land mass maps we are most familiar with. For example, the population map has enlarged areas such as India and China and shrunk land masses with lower population. Some interesting maps that relate to our trip: Access to Midwives: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=215Maternal Death Rate: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=258Female Life Expectancy: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=257Infant Mortality: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=261Birth Injury Related Deaths: http://www.worldmapper.org/display_extra.php?selected=410Total Births: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=3Read More →

I convinced Jeff to let me see how the birth pants will work (sorry, no photos). It was not what I had imagined, it was actually even better. The stretchy pants are not too baggy, but the baby will need to be “guided” by someone to stay in place. It works in hands and knees and squatting positions. And because it is stretchy, I can stick my hand in the opening to demonstrate techniques for working with a shoulder dystocia (I was able to learn those earlier this year at a Midwifery Today conference). I want to play with the pants a little more toRead More →

Although I will not leave for Central Africa until the 24th of the month, the women who are traveling from the farthest distances (Uganda and Tanzania) will be beginning their journey this week. It is hard to imagine that it will take two weeks for the journey, especially when I could drive from New York to California in just a few days. But in the United States, we have access to reliable transportation, paved roads and expressways. We have trains and safe airports that can make the journey even faster. It really makes me appreciate even more how committed these women are to helping theirRead More →

It occurred to me today that Tammy had asked/recommended we each attempt to get donations of rubber gloves and bulb syringes last week. Now I leave for Michigan on Monday and I haven’t asked a single midwife for a donation. This was a sobering reminder of the tremendous pressure I have put on myself this summer. I haven’t even had a moment to think about bringing more – I have supplies that have already been promised that I haven’t picked up yet. I was hoping to get donations through Midwifery Today, but travel schedules conflict and so I don’t think that is going to work.Read More →

So I had realized yesterday that I did not actually have a suitcase, let alone two suitcases. I told Jeff that I did not know what to pack in, and he started looking for a cheap way to purchase luggage. It seems when you don’t spend much money on a suitcase you don’t get much of a suitcase. Jeff insisted that what I pack in be up to the rigors of this journey. We came up with the great idea of borrowing a suitcase from his Grandparents. The only problem is I cannot guarantee the suitcase will make it back in one piece — orRead More →

A friend donated some old stretchy pants yesterday, so I took the time to make the Birth Pants as recommended in the Hesperian Foundation book for Midwives. I wasn’t sure how big to make the opening, so I used the dolls from the teaching kits as models. I made the opening large enough to let the doll slide through, but because the material was stretchy I was able to leave it small enough to demonstrate crowning. So the idea is cool, but I have not tested the pants yet. I asked Jeff to try them on to let me see what I would be workingRead More →

I am off to the store to purchase my travel supplies today. I have a few lists of “what to pack to visit Africa” I found on the internet. Most of the lists are from Safari companies so that does not really apply to our trip. We won’t be in a comfortable hotel with laundry services, and we won’t be with guides who deal with tourists all the time. But overall, I think I have some pretty good lists. The idea is to pack as light as possible, which is a bit of a problem for this trip. Although I am only bringing a fewRead More →

We had planned to spend our night in DC with a friend, which meant renting a car for a 45 minute drive to her home and then 45 minutes back first thing in the morning. Not ideal, but it would work. The worst part is that all this would happen before our 24 hours of flying – which leads right into our 6 hour drive. I get carsick just thinking about it. In another example of how God is bigger than anything this trip can throw at him, I am happy to tell you that someone has donated a night at a hotel close toRead More →