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Without clothes

Hi, I'm Luise Smigay. A midwife from Germany, who was mentioned once on this blog at the end of Dec./Jan. I was working as a midwife at Ishaka Adventist Hospital in Uganda and had the pleasure to travel a while with Christian and Fredrik over Christmas Holidays. After a bit of jointly cycling, I showed them my working place.

Although I'm not in Uganda anymore, I am still in contact with some of my best friends and colleagues from Ishaka. They told me, they started a project to provide the poorest mothers that come to the hospital with the bare necessities they need to survive.

Now Fredrik and I would like to help them support this cause. So Fredrik asked me to be a guestwriter for this post, telling you about a day at the labor ward .

So... a normal Day in Ishaka. I wake up at 7, boil water, brush my teeth. Five passion fruits and two mangos later, I´m already praying at devortion.

Or at least I'm pretending to, while already thinking about what I am going to have for lunch. When I enter the delivery room, two women are already in labor. I get my report from the midwife who was in charge of the nightshift. The woman I'm taking care of is already dilated at 8cm. It's her third pregnancy. We don't know anything about the other kids she has already delivered – she doesn't want to tell us. Delivery continues pretty fast and after two hours, she gives birth to a beautiful, yet far too little baby girl.

It's common practice in Uganda for relatives to provide new mothers with food and to help them with washing and getting back to the maternity ward after the delivery – at this point, it's none of the midwife's business anymore. When I ask this mother about the whereabouts of her clothing and the delivery package, she doesn't seem to understand me. Another midwife translates for me and we figure out that she has nothing. No clothes or diapers for the baby and not even clothes for herself. Not an exception here in Bushenyi, a district that belongs to the poorest ones in all of Uganda.

Many women can't afford the everyday necessities for their babies, actually most women can't even afford the delivery itself. 70% of the mothers in my region give birth at home without a medical person on their side. Only 30 % make it to a hospital like mine.

Some women are too poor in fact to buy food for themselves, which means that they won't be able to produce enough milk for breastfeeding.

Unbelievable for us Europeans, where nearly every mother gets a "baby shower" and will be flooded with toys and clothes for the baby months before it is born.

So, as I already said, my friends started a project, where every staff member gives what he or she has, in order to buy those things a mother need.

More than impressive to hear, especially when you know that even they don't earn enough money to feed their own families.

That was enough motivation for me to make a little step and start that fund. Please help me to provide mothers in need with the bare necessities they need to survive and to take care of their babies: diapers, soap, clothes and food.

If you are interested in more stories about an everyday life at my Ugandian hospital, follow my blog:

And to support this project either swish to Cyclefundjaro on 0732205579 or go and visit my blog.

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