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Published: July 31st 2016
Time has flown by this week! And so much to write about but I will be highlighting the big three for this week.
On Monday we held our second pads training day in a village close to Kihwa called Nyamuyanja (spelling may be wrong on that one). This was a brand new group that we scoped out and we were all a bit nervous of how it would go down but it was FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! The girls and women were so receptive to our messages and asked us so many questions. They were all so eager to learn how to sew liners and care for their shields and liners so they would last them a long time. Our spunky little Vivian took the cake on getting everyone riled up again by getting all the girls and women to yell back and forth "What are we all?" "WOMEN!". It was such an awesome bonding chant! This group felt a lot more community like I think because they were all so eager and some girls were close to becoming women and were quite nervous about it. We broke down those barriers and really tried to get the message across that we
are all women together and we are in this together! Aunt Flo just binds us in a beautiful way and creates a natural community we should be able to lean on more often. We successfully donated every single pad that we got from Canada with this second day and it was so worth it! I left with such a happy and full heart and I really hope to see those girls and women again to see how they liked the pads day!
The second thing we did that was really exciting was a nutrition education day at Kishuro. We had a small gathering of about 50 people and everyone was so interested! We covered major topics like sanitation, food groups, sources of vitamin A and iron and zinc, food preparation, and infant health. I got to do the sanitation bit and the breastfeeding bit which I LOVED! Nothing like telling 50 strangers that your small breasts are also capable of feeding a child for a year or two to get the conversation rolling! As part of our nutrition day we did some food preparation and really highlighted mixing up the variations of fruits and vegetables in these
peoples diets. We made a delicious vegetarian stew with beans, g-nuts and an assortment of spices and vegetables we had on hand! We even got the men in our group to cook to highlight male involvement! The group loved it and really loved the food! Other than talking about my breasts abilities to feed a baby my favorite part of the day was actually offering private counseling to a woman there. She is just over 60 and has been suffering from diabetes for years now. The issue with diabetes here is the strips are always out of stock and too expensive for patients to buy them. She goes to the health centre once a month and is given her monthly supply of insulin based on her last glucose reading. This can be from the previous month, or up to several months ago depending on stocks in the hospital. She has suffered numbness on her left side of her body I believe in relation to her diabetes. It was tingly a few years ago but now she can't feel anything from her hands to her feet. Talking to her and hearing her story and how she tries so hard to follow
doctors orders (which were so so wrong nutritionally speaking) and still continues to suffer broke my heart. The lack of supplies and the corruption with getting supplies to where they are needed most here is just appalling. Women like her need the help, and not a lot of help but they are the ones going empty handed. I have tried to figure out how to get insulin to her in a cheaper way but I have been hit with barrier after barrier. I tried my best to give her the most fitting advice I could give but she fully understood that my hands are tied too but fully believed I would try my best to help. When we were packing up to leave she came over with on of our translators and I thought she had another question but all she wanted was a photo with me! It was probably the cutest thing ever.
The last really amazing thing I got to be a part of this week was totally by chance. There was a group of Health Education students coming through and they stopped in the maternal ward and were trying to educate mothers on post
delivery diets and breastfeeding. I got to sit in on lactation consulting!!!! It was like puzzle pieces all falling together for me. I know I have done great work here but being able to observe breastfeeding mothers for all of two hours really made everything worth it. We had such beautiful cases and the lead teacher (I don't know her name but lets call her Fierce because she is damn fierce) was AMAZING! The first case I observed was a mother all by herself that was having such a tough time getting her baby to latch. I observed for awhile but she was getting more and more flustered and Fierce called me over to observe a twin feeding. The mother was quite young and I was so amazed to see her husband there. AND HE WAS HELPING HER! It is like a unicorn sighting here to see a man present and involved. Fierce was instruction the husband how to get the baby to latch and was showing him ways to hold the breast to try and get milk to express that would encourage the baby to latch. He had some difficulty but once he got it you should have seen
his face! He was so proud and happy and the mom was pretty relieved too! When we walked away she was looking down at her new babies and he was looking under the blanket to sneak a peek of their faces with the biggest smile on his face too. It was such a perfect family moment. Such a beautiful thing. Fierce then noticed the first mother we visited and with some work got her to get her baby to latch and the sheer relief of that woman was palpable. Then Fierce started questioning her on why her husband was not there. She even started to sass the twin dad about how he should be encouraging his mates to get to the hospital to support their women during and after birth! So fierce and sassy. She even asked the mom if she was going to separate from him because she deserves a supportive husband! The last case I got to observe of the day was pretty funny. It was a brand new mom of 20 years old and she had small breasts. She was hunched over trying to feed her baby and clearly was worried about her breast size. There is
a common belief here that small chested women will have starving babies. Fierce came by, straightened her back and made a big scene of declaring that the only difference between this mother and the one next to her (with like DD breasts) was that she had to hold the baby higher. That was it! Small breasts can feed lives too! It was so awesome, the mom started giggling, tried the new feeding position and boom baby was feeding like a champ! This experience has made me so excited for further training once I graduate. To show and empower women through breastfeeding is like the best dream job I could ever hope of having!
Now that I am all excited again reminiscing about my past week I will take off to start packing up my stuff as we leave Mbarara this week!
Sending love from Africa for only three more weeks! xoxo
Tot: 0.037s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 6; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0099s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb