Many years ago I decided to interrupt my studies and go to Africa. I visited my parents in Botswana, then traveled for months through southern and east Africa, visiting the place I was born and the countries I last saw when I was very young.
On a border somewhere in East Africa, two things happened on the same day that deeply affected me and led me to where I am today. As I was waiting to cross to the other side, a young woman leaned heavily on the fence, clearly having labor contractions. She was on her own; a group of women crowded around her and led her away.
A few hours later, a woman came to me with a baby. The baby was sick, clearly dying. The mother explained to me that the baby had diarrhea and asked me if I could help. Back then, I was 23 years old, and although I knew quite a bit about First Aid, herbal healing, helping survivors of sexual assault, and the English Romantic Poets, I knew nothing about newborns or breastfeeding.
I didn't know that around 20% of all infant deaths were due to diarrhea, I didn't know about the links between malnutrition, formula feeding, breastfeeding, and infant death.
She thought I could help her, and I couldn't. I hope you never see a baby and mother looking at you like that.
I realized that day that I wanted to devote my life to making a safer world for mother and babies. I had a lot of other things to do with my life as well, though, and spent several years meeting my true love, raising five sons, running an organic farm, studying midwifery, and working as a doula.
Now I am ready, I have the skills to share and the time to spend. I am going to Greece to contribute to the effort to provide prenatal, childbirth and breastfeeding assistance to families in Greece who are living in very difficult conditions. Temperatures are low; people do not have good winter clothing; they are living in tents, in squats or in the streets. Babies are still being born, and children are still being raised.
The risk of dying is particularly high because of the combined impact of communicable diseases and diarrhea together with possible increases in rates of under-nutrition as people flee their homes. The people inside Syria and those displaced may find themselves often in very difficult and unsanitary conditions thus can be at major risk of serious water-borne diseases. Breastfeeding confers critical protection from infection especially where safe water is unavailable and there is poor sanitation. Breastfeeding saves lives.” from safelyfed.org
I have created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for my trip. If you have been wondering what you can do to help, this is it! Please help me help mothers and babies in Greece!
Please share my campaign, and if you can donate even a small amount, it will be gratefully appreciated. The funds will go towards my air travel, accommodation, transport, and supplies while I am there, and any left over will be donated directly to the organizations in Greece who are working with mothers and babies.
I am wishing you all a year full of health, joy, peace and love.