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Driving with the Senator

We had lunch with Senator David and learned that our ride back to Bukavu was arranged with him. He allowed us to bring Georgette back to Bukavu with us to translate so we could shop. We talked a bit about the conference over lunch, and I took the opportunity to tell him about the women not going to the clinics because of the bad treatment they receive. He asked Georgette a lot of questions about the clinics and what the women say. I didn’t know if he could do anything about it, but I knew from the little time I spent with him that if he could, he would.

It was a long ride, because as an official vehicle, his driver is not allowed to drive fast. We spent the hour chatting with the senator with Georgette translating. They had gone to school together in Nayngezi, which may have been the only reason she was as candid with him about the clinic abuses as she was.

He told us he would do whatever we needed to start a midwives school in Nayngezi. I told him we would need electricity and clean water as a start. He also asked us to bring our husbands back with us next year and train the family’s about sex (we think he meant family planning) so the men don’t keep having 10 children without having a job.


He took us to our hotel and offered us the use of his car and driver to go shopping.

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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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