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Lobo

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 Muzungu everyone assumes they have given you things and that you have money now. They want a part of it. The nurses and doctors at the clinic may have their rent raised because the landlord knows Muzungu came to work there. That made Lobo’s friendship even more precious.

We think it was Lobo who brought us food that first night. Another woman was translating for us when he asked why we didn’t eat. He knew we were left without food and had gone to a neighbor to beg for us so we would not be hungry. I’ve never had anyone do something so sacrificing for me before. He had almost no food himself, only eats once a day if that. And being associated with Muzungu would put him at risk.

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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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