From one mother to another
In Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, most people live in remote rural areas out in the bush. Very low standards of health education, lack of access to clinics, hospitals or healthcare professionals and extreme poverty mean that many babies are born in less than ideal conditions. The floor might be mud or dirty concrete and out in the bush, miles from a town the only thing to cut the umbilical cord is a stone. The poorest mothers have very little for their babies or themselves and there is a high maternal and infant death rate after birth, mainly from infection, birth trauma and haemorrhaging. Quite a contrast from birth experiences in the UK.
St Mary’s Ashwell Mothers’ Union branch have responded to the need by committing to put together at least 35 Birthing Packs which will be passed on via an organisation called Go MAD (Go Make A Difference) community midwives to the very poorest women. The packs contain the absolute basics for a hygienic delivery and the immediate care of a mother and her baby. The bag is a nylon boot bag (like those for school rugby boots) and amongst the items laid out in From one mother to anotherthe image below there is a shower curtain to lay on the ground, baby soap, latex gloves, cord cutting kit, terry nappies and so on. The completed packs (right) will be taken out in August to the Anglican Diocese of Musoma in Tanzania and all achieved in a very short, some would say miraculous, timescale.
From one school to another
Rather than simply demolishing the former school buildings that were on the site of Silsoe School, the Diocese of St Albans’ Estates Team has allowed a local charity – Home Leone – to remove many of the fixtures and fittings.
Home Leone are a Luton-based charity working in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Their vision is of a nation free of slum living. The items from the school in Silsoe are being used for a new state of the art school in a new community. The equipment would not be available in Sierra Leone and will be ground breaking for education in the area. The container with the school parts arrived recently at the village in Destiny, Sierra Leone and was met with joy and excitement.
For more information about Home Leone’s work to build communities of hope with the poor, see homeleone.org.