Africa, a land where its rich culture, wild animals, jungles, safaris, tribal dances and lively drum beats use to be the first things that comes to people’s minds when they hear that name…but for the last 50 years or so it seems to be known more and more commonly for the brutal wars, poverty, corruption, deaths, and many other things that are ravaging the land. Yet, with all these things marring Africa’s face, her true beauty is still there, one of the ways to see it is to get to know her... and that is what we are doing!
Day 1 ---- Unpack
We are still getting use to things here as we unpack, not only our bags, but our minds as well. Life here goes under the trees, over the hills, through the tall grass, crosses paths with crazy bugs, eats food from the garden, takes “bucket” showers under the stars, wears long skirts under the hot sun, sweeps the dirt, washes everything by hand, uses squatty potties, sleeps under mosquito nets, envelops you in a new language, eats with your hands, kicks a ball around with little children... yes life goes on and on, because that was only Day 1!
Day 5 ---- Village
We have only been here a few days but since we may have to wait a while to get our working visas, we have jumped into getting to know the community! On Friday October 1st, I went into the village with a few other women to talk with the people. In one short trip into the village we were connected with a few locals and a pastor of a “large” church who will let us come do health care teachings with all the women there. Just the opportunity we were looking for!
Soon we will begin "profiling". We will go out into the village and find women to talk with. We ask them different kinds of questions, like what food is available here to what kind of spiritual rituals they do. Our goal is to speak with over one hundred women in this area so that we can see what we are working with, what their knowledge level is and what resources are open for them. It's also a way to teach women about their health, share the gospel and give women confidence about seeking help at the clinics when it's needed. It helps that the people here are very welcoming!
Day 6 ---- Beach
On our day off so we went to the beach! We crammed into a "dala dala" (a van made to hold 12 people) with 36 people! After swimming in the very blue water; I ripped some fabric off the bottom of my skirt with my teeth to wrap my friends bleeding foot, I had to stop a girl from stealing our stuff, I got super sun burned, I carried my friend with the hurt foot across the sandy beach and up a hill via piggy back then came home the same way we went, crammed into a "dala dala". Once back home had a very late dinner of beans and rice.
Day 7 ---- Church
If you are a guest at a church here they expect you to come ready to share a song, testimony and/or preach the whole sermon. I was only with a small group but we did all of that. Then we went to a house of one of the church members to pray over a man who had just lost his father. The the kids at the house took great pride in showing us there 19 day old calf.
Day 11 ---- Clinic
Yay! The first day I was finally able to take everything I had been learning and put it into practice! The YWAM base we are staying on also has a clinic. We have been going there (a few students at a time) as a way of “easing our way in” so that we will be more prepared when it comes to working at the hospital! At the clinic I was sent to work alongside the head midwife for an hour, it was so nice to just be there and watch her work. I watched her lay her hands on a mother's huge belly and start to feel her way around trying to find out how the baby was laying inside. I stood on the other side watching in amazement when she then took my hands and quickly showed me what she was doing by guiding my hands in hers. When the second women came in, I again stood off to the side in excitement to watch her in action, but that is not what happened... She looked at me with a smile and said "Why are you over there? You’re the midwife now, you do it." She then put me up front and center and let me do the job while she just watched and waited for any questions. By the third women she had left the room and let me tell her the verdict when she returned. In the hour I was able to take women's vitals, find and count the baby's heartbeat, and palpate three women. I couldn't believe that I was actually doing what I have been waiting so long to do!
Once my hour was up I was sent to the lab where I was able to help do tests for malaria, HIV and other bloodborne pathogens. I also got to see malaria under a microscope! After that my teammate Joy and I did a health care teaching for the women at the clinic, shared the gospel and prayed over the mothers and their children.
Day 12 ---- Now
So how do I have internet? My team found a place about an hour and a half ride from our base with internet. So I may be able to come here another time but it won't be very often.
I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers, encouragement and support.
Hi, I'm Kaitlin. I love traveling and working as a midwife. These are a few of my adventures and the lessons I've learned from them, as well as lessons I'm still learning.