Today I had the privilege to meet a strong, inspiring and brave woman and her one month old baby girl. She lives in a small one room “house” with 7 other family members. She sleeps on the floor with her baby, and also slept on the floor throughout her entire pregnancy. She lives with her aunt as her boyfriend left her when he found out she was pregnant. She worked washing clothes while pregnant, but couldn’t work during her last months of pregnancy, which made her not be able to pay rent and be kicked out by the landlord.
She had no where else to go except to her aunts house. She gave birth on the floor where she sleeps as she didn’t have enough money to give birth in the government health clinic in Ngong. It would have cost her KSH 10 000 (SEK 886) to give birth there. This was her first child, so she wasn’t sure when she was going to give birth. When her contractions started, she called her aunt who came to help deliver the baby. She was in labor for four hours. They had one towel and water. Her aunt had no gloves, and when it came time to cut the umbilical cord, her aunt had to yell for someone to get a razor blade.
She said she wasn’t scared during the delivery because she had no other choice but to deliver at home. She said that she will come to Kenswed Maternity & Health Center because it will be cheaper for her, and thinks it will be good because she skipped check ups during her pregnancy because she couldn’t afford it. She said she was able to take her baby for one check up since birth because she got a small collection of money from friends, neighbors and family who came to see the baby. She said her baby will not be able to get anymore check ups unless people donate money to her, as she is unemployed.
She said she was “lucky” to have a successful birth, and not have any complications or too much pain afterwards. The only problem is that often times she doesn’t have enough breast milk for her baby because she herself doesn’t have enough food to eat throughout the day.
Unfortunately this is the reality many women in this area face due to poverty. I feel deeply honored to have met this woman and hear her story. Tomorrow we will take her to the Ngong clinic to get her and her baby checked up. Her baby has some stomach pains and problem, which we will make sure gets properly checked by a doctor, as well as get vaccinations for her baby, buy her baby clothes, diapers and a better mattress for her and her baby to sleep on!
Lööf Foundation representative