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 →

Our nightly walks put us face to face with the people of Nayngezi. We were able to greet them in Swahili and even learned traditional greetings in the local language. That’s right, three different languages are spoken in Nayngezi and we didn’t always know witch one was being used. Here is the Army camp up the hill. We had to pay for their protection. Extortion is just as much a way of life in the Congo as the bribery. If we did not pay, our women would be harassed by the Army. We also had to pay the police to ensure they would do theirRead More →

One of the sessions was used to help the women from each village determine how they could support themselves working as midwives. Their husbands would not allow them to help women if they could not make money. The midwives from Nayngezi had already decided before the training began to prepare a garden they would share. They would work together to sell the harvest and support their work. They would also raise small animals that could be sold to help support them. This is the midwives standing in their garden. The women from other villages all decided on similar programs to support their work.Read More →

The Shilo Center has some wildlife, because it is run like a farm. There are goats, which I chased out of the kitchen several times before the ladies asked me why I hated goats. They thought it was funny that I didn’t want them near the food, since they considered near the warm fires the best place for them. There were pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs a monkey and a baby chimpanzee the owner had rescued from poachers who killed his mother. The poor chimp has a skin infection so he is losing his hair, may be malnourished and is suffering from being isolated from otherRead More →

We had a very fun experience teaching positions for labor and comfort measures. We were pretty sure some of these women had not been touched except by their husband or children in years. Getting them comfortable with touch was a priority. We started by giving them lotion and teaching them to perform hand massages. It took off from there. We did get some strange looks when we suggested hands and knees. It seems the midwives have always told women hands and knees is a bad position and will kill the baby.Read More →

We started the day with a big laugh. I had purchased a very large stretchy dress to bring on the trip, and stuffed the dress with a teaching model and some towels. The women laughed hysterically when I walked in with a big pregnant belly. The women spent the day learning how to check pulse and temperature, how to identify infection, how to find baby’s location in the belly and listen to the heart rate.Read More →

The day stared with bead, eggs and coffee. It was to become the standard meal while under Amina’s care since she had no idea what to feed the American women. Things began looking up when Flory arrived early in the day with a van full of women. We had not been abandoned, the training would happen. The women settled into their rooms and we began to prepare for the teaching to begin after lunch. We decided to break the ice by wearing the model baby on our backs, which combined with our Swahili greetings made the women laugh. We told Flory about Georgette being aRead More →

We knew the group from the US was leaving that afternoon, and had expected Amina and Flory to join us. We spent the morning exploring the center and upon our first exit from the building were greeted by a man at the clinic who asked if we had something for him. We retreated to the Center where members of the other group warned us not to walk out with a bag or the people think you are handing things out. Seems a member of their group took great pleasure in passing out candy to the local children, and now it was expected. The American groupRead More →