studying and reading about the area, fund-raising dinner and events, inoculations (yipes!), visa preparations, prayers and more prayers. She has also made the commitment to bring with her 50 midwife kits to provide as women give birth. I was both humbled and honored to be able to help her out with a little portion of the kit making yesterday. We cut up clean white sheets into 36 inch squares and hemmed them. It especially hit home having a daughter who recently gave birth in a modern, clean hospital surrounded by medical staff and technology and a daughter-in-law who awaits an upcoming birth, also in a modern hospital environment. Quite different than the birth supplies present in Congo under the best of circumstances:
2 bars of Ivory soap
2 6 inch cloth strips for tying off the umbilical cord
a 36 inch square of white sheeting for the mother-to-be to laying on during delivery
razor blades to cut the umbilical cord
2 hand towels and 2 wash cloths
a little hat for the newborn, a swaddling blanket and a little t shirt.
|The completed midwife kit.|
While we worked together, I think of some of the many statistics Diann mentions as we whir and press:
* According to the World Indexes of Human Development, the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), this is the poorest section in the poorest country ranking dead last at 189 out of 189.
* 1 out of 6 children will die before their 6th birthday.
* Mortality rate for mothers giving birth is 1 out of 24.
* 43 % of surviving children will have stunted growth due to malnutrition and disease.
* Current diseases: malaria, measles and polio.
* Half of children age 4 and up are in the work force, primarily carriers of water that is tainted.
* Statistics report that only 12% of the population has access to clean water (the actual percent may be close to 6%, but the "official number is 12%).
* Life expectancy is age 48.
* Annual income is under $400.00 per year.
|Sewing and ironing - the Nelson sisters at work!|
If you would like to follow along with the team's trip, you may go to this link. I'm sure they would appreciate your prayers and thoughts as well!