I’ve tried to pick her face out in a crowd. We’ve sung with village girls like her many times, maybe she is one of them here. She was just 15, a few years short of hips wide enough to birth, when she had her first baby and died.
It is beyond sad, these young girls dancing their hearts out, never knowing that one in seven of them will most likely die in their teens having their first baby.
Baby Israel was born in January 2021 and his fifteen year old mother died three days later. The baby was brought in to Neema Village on Feb 5. At two weeks old he weighed 4.5 lbs or 2.05 kg. His head was terribly misshapen, it must have been a horrific birth, and he had a ringworm on his forehead. We are calling the baby Israel because we cannot pronounce his Maasai name, which is Ndorosi Ndiono Makarot.
He is looking better now in the picture below.
What happened you ask? Why do we lose so many young moms here?
I’m sure there are many reasons, lack of good medical care out in the remote villages, girls having babies too young, not enough healthy foods for pregnant women, the hard work of women carrying large loads of wood to cook the meals, carrying water long distances for the family and scarring from female circumcision. Scar tissue does not stretch like normal tissue. Maasai people are traditionally very tall, thin, narrow-hipped, beautiful people and they have learned over the years to try to have small babies. We learned at some of our Safe Birthing Seminars out in the villages that they stop eating the last month of pregnancy or they eat grass to vomit so they will have small babies.
The traditional “birthers” in a village are also the “cutters.” If a girl was not circumcised as a young girl between three to ten years old, when she has her first baby they will often circumcise her then. if we are going to do anything to help save these moms we have to work with the older women birthers.
We have decided it is time to stop asking “Why” and begin to ask “What.” What can we do to help save these mothers?
Isn’t it amazing, when the time is right God sends just the right person and in waltzes happy, giggly, energetic, extremely bright, talented, dedicated Kassie Stanfield, who is a certified CPA and left a good paying job in DC to come work free of charge at Neema Village. She also came with about 35 pages of lessons on Safe Birthing, some eye opening videos and an idea of training these “birthers” to become sort of “local midwives.” We have also hired an excellent midwife to teach the classes and she is already working on getting permission from the local government officials for the program. The midwife’s name is Mercy (teaching one of our birthing seminars below)
We plan to have our first Save the Mothers class at Neema the last of May. Twelve women from two Maasai villages will come for two weeks of intensive training and classes. They will stay in the new “Jeffery May MAP Houses.” The rooms are open , brightly painted and ready for moms!
It is going to be a big project, one that will save lives and if you want to help please let me know. We will schedule how many classes we have a year by how God moves people to help.
We are praying the “Save The Mothers” project will be a game changer for Africa’s moms. Please be praying for Kassie, Mercy and the women God will send for training. Also pray for our newest baby Sarah who weighs 1.25kg and still in the hospital with a feeding tube.
Have we told you lately that we think you are awesome!