Tammy and I got a kick out of Flory’s cousin Florimond. He seems to be a well connected, important person here in the Congo. He has men who follow his orders, three cars at his disposal and even the general brought him a goat to thank him for giving him a bottle of wine. When we were sent off to Nayngezi, it was his man Justin who drove us. Justin was also responsible for staying at Nayngezi while our group was there. He walked around with a cell phone or two way radio-I couldn’t figure out which-and it made us think of the old MafiaRead More →

While Tammy was enjoying the scenic drives too and from Bukavu-a little too close to the cliffs for comfort- I was teaching the ladies about the almost common reasons for maternal death and what they could do to prevent it. I stated the day by having the women pull their chairs in close, told them we were talking about a very serious subject and that because we were talking about death we would not sing until we were done. We spent the morning talking about hemorrhage and labor obstructions, then broke for lunch. My appetite had been gone for a few days, so I walkedRead More →

By Sunday when Florimond came out to the center we still had not received the training manuals we paid for. It was agreed that Flory would go to town to get the copies. When the plan changed because it was too late to get a ride in and out of town, we decided one of us was going. It had to be Tammy because the teachings for that day wold be problems which I had been studying about for a month to prepare. Flory assured her everything was ready and they would leave at 7 am. We had breakfast and Tammy left. We expected herRead More →

On our first full day in Nayngezi after the Americans had left and the Dr tried to get money from us, the other doctor came to ask if we would like to assist with a birth. I was working with Georgette on translations and thought Tammy would love to see what they do anyway so asked if she wanted to help with this first one. She followed the doctor to the clinic and I kept working. About an hour later Tammy returned and asked if we could go relax in the room, she obviously was upset and needed to talk. Tammy talks when she isRead More →

Flory was such a good sport during the whole training. He did some of the more difficult translations for us and sat in on most of the sessions. When talk got a little to improper for a Pastor, he would cover his face and wait for us to stop talking about mucus and girlie parts. A few times he just left the room. We pulled Flory into our lunches several days to explain to him that we may be starting wars between the men and women. He listened intently and asked questions to understand the issues the women faced, and the reality of their lives.Read More →

The women were very interested in everything we were teaching. It didn’t occur to us just how much they didn’t know. With no formal education, no libraries and no one to ask questions, there were quite a few surprises. Our first surprise was the day we were teaching about infections, a topic we figured would be easy. But as it turns out the idea that you only rinse the external vagina, not using soap and not cleansing the inside was a shock to them. They had all been taught that the inside was dirty because of the mucus, so it needed to be cleaned daily.Read More →

This is Lobo, a man who works at the center. Lobo became friends with us instantly, even though he spoke no English. He taught us some phrases in the local language and came to greet us every day. He never asked us for anything, unlike just about everyone else we had met. On our last night we gave Lobo a package of treats, some beef Jerky and Granola. We found out the next morning that the other men were giving him a hard time for being friends with Muzungu. Even Georgette would have problems for being friends with us. If you are friends with MuzunguRead More →

When Flory arrived at the training center he informed us there had been a problem with some of the women from Rwanda and that was what had kept him. They did not have the right paperwork to leave the country, and in the end he had to leave them behind. We got more of the story later from Kayesu, a woman from Kigali on the left. The woman on the right is also from Rwanda. Kayesu told us that the women had gone to get their passports at the office, and they had filled out the forms and paid their money. But the officials wouldRead More →

We knew we couldn’t just lecture to these women, so we were prepared with all manner of hands on activities for them. We stuffed the birth kits into plastic bags full of air and placed them under a pair of pants to have them learn about finding the baby’s position. Later in the week we put the pants on and actually gave birth through the hole we had cut. I can’t believe we have no pictures of that, it worked so well. One of the nurses helped explain some of the things in Swahili which really helped. We loved Hortense, she was patient and aRead More →

We were so excited to meet Georgette, and the training would not have been successful without her. On the first day as we discussed eating in pregnancy the women complained that they could not eat well because they did not have money. I was getting ready to give a rehearsed answer about doing the best you can when Georgette said she was going to tell them eating well was not having money. She talked for fifteen minutes, going back and forth with the women in what we can only assume was the best nutrition talk many of them have ever heard. Georgette had studied AgricultureRead More →