Meanwhile in East Africa…

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I hear the stories of the people who surround me. I hear their stories and they sound like the stories of a Hollywood drama. And to be honest, Hollywood has heard the stories and made a movie to represent it. The movie “Black Hawk Down” may have an ending with credits, but the tragedies of Somalia have not completely ended. The credits have not yet rolled.

The violence that affects the Somali people continues to throb like a smashed finger hours after the hit.

The other day, as I sipped comforting and warming Somali tea on my friends couch, browsed through her family photos and shared stories of love, I heard a bang on her front door. She ignored it to continue to host me but yet the knocking continued. Finally she rose to receive the unforeseen guest. I could hear rapid Somali being spoken and as she re-entered the room she shook her head and sighed.

She explained that the young woman whom she rented a room to, was about to receive news that her cousin was brutally shot down in an attempt to flee the violence in her small village. The young woman’s cousin who passed that evening was killed in the cross-fire, she was collateral damage to some else’s fight.

These are moments that remind me of the true human state. I cannot resolve issues such as the sociopolitical issue that lead to the death of a young woman in a small village, but I can listen and do what I would do for my own family, give love. The rest of the afternoon, I listened to my friend reveal her own fears. For the price of a cup of tea, I was a cheap therapist that day.

Meanwhile in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia…

When I get the flu, I know what to do. Drink lots of fluids, keep my temperature in check and rest. This method is a reasonable one that works a majority of the time, but then again I have been vaccinated and have clean water at my finger tips.

Meanwhile in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia…

When a child in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia becomes ill it is a different story. A story that is likely to end in death.
Over 2 Million children die from Pneumonia and diarrhea every year. UNICEF released that they are attempting to combat this horrifying epidemic of human loss with basic vaccination programs, with the hope of saving the 2 million
.
Vaccinations, the simple shot in the arm or drops under the tongue will mean life or death a few months down the road for an infant, and yet the availability of this simple procedure for millions is still unattainable.
I have written about vaccinations before and have discussed the atrocities when there are a lack of vaccinations. You have seen the ads on TV and heard the news reports just like me. When I compare the issue to the most recent technological achievements of humanity, it seems as if we are experiencing a paradox in the space time continuum.
As we continue to become exponentially advanced in our technological ability to communicate and be industrious, we still have yet to keep up with the primordial bacterium that steal our children as they play in the sunlight.
We can say lets give more money which is great, but what we really need are the future and current minds, the investment in time and the genius to focus on fighting back diseases from the beginning of time. We need the strength of the strong and powerful men and women to ensure that the vaccination programs be implemented efficiently and free of corruption. Maybe we need to prioritize more, maybe we need to encourage and guide our young fruitful minds to a revolution against the single celled organisms that attack with no remorse.
I applaud the geniuses who are currently and tirelessly working to stop the spread of disease, and I can only hope that one day the impact of their work on the lives of the children they serve is that of a giant asteroid.
A life shall not be wasted on a single celled bacterium organism…
“Unicef: Tackling Diarrhoea and Pneumonia Saves 2m Lives.” BBC News. BBC, 06 Aug. 2012. Web. 20 June 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18353199&gt;

Meanwhile on Mother’s Day…

This post is dedicated to my Mom this Mother’s day 2012. I Love you mom….

There are experiences on this earth that we all share, no matter our geographic location, religion, race, culture or financial status. One of them is the birth experience.

Of course we cannot recall our own birth, but we can reference the stories that we may know about our own birth or get a pretty good idea of what it may have been like from encountering the events of our family and friends. One encounter of such an event, occurred while I was on an aid trip in November 2010.

Mari, lived in one of the small, 10×10 sheds that I have described in my past posts. She was 19 years old, had a fiancé, a 2-year-old baby and was pregnant with a new baby. Teen pregnancy in the place where we build homes for the poor is pretty much an epidemic. Lack of education and finances do not help, in these situations.

In July of 2010 a woman who met Mari early in her pregnancy decided that through fundraising she would finance the house we would be building. The dream of the home was coming alive for both of them. After waiting nearly 9 months Mari was experiencing 2 life altering events simultaneously. The first was a new house, that the team I was working with was building for her. The second was the birth of her baby. Both these events were converging upon each other during the same week.

Mari 2010

The entire week we worked on the house, Mari quietly watched us with her petite belly pulling on the seams of her clothes. I remember thinking about is how beautiful she was. she was glowing! She had soft features and kind eyes. Had she not been pregnant I could tell that her figure was that of a movie star or model. Her baby was going to be blessed with good looks. Each afternoon, she would shyly bring us food that her mother and aunt had prepared in gratitude for our work. During this break time her adorable 2-year-old daughter would be passed from person to person. The lunch time breaks were a welcomed portion of the day.

Keys to her new home and future. 2010

Keys to her new home and future. 2010

Mari’s mother relayed to us that the upcoming, Friday morning Mari would be going to the hospital where she would be induced into labor. Being that she had no vehicle and lived an entire town away from the nearest medical center, induced labor was the safest and most preferred option for Mari. The whole week Mari spent preparing for her big day, packing and preparing her child for the few days she would be away. She was extremely attentive to her toddler and from the amount of time she spent holding her Thursday, it was evident that the time away from the toddler was going to be difficult. By Thursday evening we finished the house and watched Mari tearfully and thankfully walk into her new home.  The house that we built was just a house, but the moment that Mari moved her small family into the structure it became a home. We said our goodbye’s to Mari and wished her luck and congratulations.

Mari opening the door to her home for the first time.

Friday evening came and a few of us anxiously decided to take a drive to the hospital to find out if Mari’s family would be there to tell us how the labor went. As the sun began to set over the hospital a picture was brought out to us. It was the picture of a beautiful baby girl, who would soon be playing with her sister in the new house. The labor went as planned and Mari would soon be back at home, just in time to settle into the house. Mari is a young mother, but a good mother. The birth experience of her child was celebrated by friends from near and far. It will be a birth that I will never forget. So many things happened that week but the highlight was the miracle of Mari’s child.

Mari’s beautiful baby girl 2010

Happy Mother’s Day moms across the globe and thank you for all you do. Especially you mom 😉