Ten on Ten- July 2017

Ten on Ten- July 2017

Ten (or more) images a month on the 10th of the month in an attempt to capture the ordinary of life wherever we may and whatever we may be doing at the time. This month the 10th fell on a Monday– a Monday during our kid’s summer vacation, a typical Monday of prenatal program at the Sarobidy Maternity Center, a Monday just two weeks before our departure from our city of Mahajanga to begin the journey back to the USA.  In other words,...

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Heavy…

Heavy…

It’s been months, if not going on years, since I’ve actually written in this space.  My heart aches to write and too often I push this desire aside to complete the unending list of tasks and self-imposed deadlines. Alas I’m putting it off no longer… there’s too much to say, too much to share, too much that I want to invite others into to better understand what full-time life and ministry in Madagascar is really...

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Many Hands… (and pictures!)

Many Hands… (and pictures!)

Many Hands… It’s simply amazing to witness the many hands of the numerous talented, passionate and gifted people that the Lord has brought together to accomplish so much here in our little corner of Madagascar.  In doing so, the Lord has woven our lives together from various backgrounds and nationalities, and as such, has strengthened the strand that brings us together to serve Him and the people on the Red Island. Here are treasured...

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Creating Beauty… September News

Creating Beauty… September News

Thank you so much for your prayers as Jamie returned to Madagascar for a 2-week work trip with Eden Projects!  Within 12 hours of being in country, they were already out in the remote fishing village of Kalamboro, meeting with the people and employees of Eden Projects.  During their days, they collected important scientific data but even more importantly, they sat with women and men who have been employed with Eden Projects and they listened...

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Holding Her Head High…

Holding Her Head High…

Nearly all of the women at the Sarobidy Maternity Center have led difficult lives.  Abject poverty, physical and emotional abuse, lack of education or total illiteracy, children from multiple fathers, prostitution, rape, oppression by their society and government, and women without a voice in their communities.  The hardships are unimaginable and they.are.so.real….. click here to read the rest of this story as written in our April...

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Images of SMC

Images of SMC

This space has been way too neglected for way too long.  The desire to write, share images and stories of life and ministry here is not to blame… in fact, I’ve got about 8 blogs swirling around in my mind.  The problem is the time to get all that’s in my head onto the screen to share.  So for today, I’m not going to neglect this blog or my desire to share but rather keep my words few and the images aplenty.  Images of...

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Exposure…

Exposure…

“Uterine rupture stands as a single obstetric accident that exposes the flaws and inequities of health systems and the society at large due to the degree of neglect that it entails”.  –Ghana Medical Journal (A Two-Year Review of Uterine Rupture in a Regional Hospital) Tuesday: February 17th, 12:15am. I’ve always known there is abuse on multiple levels to women during labor and birth worldwide.  I’ve always known...

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Every Mother Counts

Every Mother Counts

In 2014, we completed our first calendar year at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  The year 2014 was all about growth.  Our staff has grown together, our programs have become stronger, our knowledge about maternity care in Madagascar has increased.  Our programs have become increasingly popular and have grown in the number of women attending and graduating.  We’ve added a family planning program that is open to anyone in the...

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Sarobidy Maternity Center- a video

Sarobidy Maternity Center- a video

We opened the Sarobidy Maternity Center just shy of 18-months ago.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve had the privilege to provide compassionate medical care for women during their pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum period in addition to well-baby care until their little ones are 6 months old.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve been able to share life-empowering education with women each week.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve been able...

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a Grace story…

a Grace story…

This is a story of God’s grace which has been so lavishly and undeniably extended to this little family!  At the age of 20, Judith and her at-the-time-boyfriend had a son together in 1996.  As is all too common here in Madagascar, soon after their son was born, the father of the baby up and left.  Judith cared for her son as a single mom for a few years before getting married to her current husband in 2000.  Each day following their...

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Genotine’s Story

Genotine’s Story

Genotine recently delivered her second baby, a sweet little girl named Marigette.  At 19 years old, this is Genotine’s second baby.  Her first baby is a little boy who just recently turned two years old.  Two precious children from two different fathers, both of whom are no longer around.  Instead Genotine is a single teenage mom with 2 children just trying to survive. This little family lives with Genotine’s mom in a 10′ x...

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Home Visits…

Home Visits…

Postpartum care for a new mama and baby is unheard of in this country.  I’ve witnessed on several occasions where babies are never even examined before they go home… not even a listen to the heart or lungs.  Once discharged from the hospital or clinic where the woman delivered, moms and babies don’t receive any follow-up postpartum care.  This of course doesn’t take into account those women that deliver at home,...

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Maman’i Josy

Maman’i Josy

In Madagascar, parents are known by their children… Maman’i Josy is Josy’s mom.  Sometimes Josy’s mom also goes by the name of Maman’i Dina or Maman’i Redy… or any of her other 4 children.  She’s a sweet women who has seen a lot in her nearly 80 years of life– an age well past the average life expectancy in Madagascar.  After nearly 60 years of marriage, she’s seen her children...

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SMC Sings…

SMC Sings…

A few weeks ago we started singing with the ladies before and after our class sessions.  It’s amazing how singing breaks the darkness and the staleness of the air and replaces it with life and refreshment.  We’re singing about the great love of Christ and singing about God’s grace for us.  Some of the women in our program are Christ-followers.  Some are not.  Some are Muslim while others may worship their ancestors and...

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Little by little at the Sarobidy Maternity Center…

Little by little at the Sarobidy Maternity Center…

It’s been really good to be back to work at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. To be with these women, to build relationships with them, to hear their stories of triumph and defeat, to rejoice with them and mourn with them, to laugh with them, sing with them and pray with them.  To marvel with them over their babies and to giggle together when their baby smiles, rolls over and begins to crawl.  It’s been good and it’s been...

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Essential Oils!

Essential Oils!

Last week we were blessed to receive a huge box packed with lots of love by some friends of ours in frosty Ohio.  Truth be told, this friend and I have never officially met, as in, in person.  We’ve emailed, texted and talked on the phone… and without a doubt, we’re sisters from another mother.  She lived and worked in Madagascar for a year back in 2000.  Many people say, after spending any significant amount of time in...

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First Babies

First Babies

The first two women of the Sarobidy Maternity Center had their babies in the last week! Judicia had a beautiful baby girl and Prisca, a sweet baby boy! Both moms and babies are doing well and are settled in at home.  Rota, the malagasy midwife and I have already had a few home visits with each mama and baby as we make sure both are healthy, breastfeeding well, watching the weight of the baby, healing, educating and praying for them.  The home...

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Expectant…

Expectant…

I wanted to take the time to introduce you to the 10 women currently enrolled in the Sarobidy Maternity Center’s prenatal program.  The staff and I consider it an honor and privilege to get to know these women and walk alongside of them during these months leading up to the birth of their babies and then for the 6 months after their babies are born while they are in the postpartum/child development program.   Rose, 27 years old,...

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Of Poverty and Injustice…

Of Poverty and Injustice…

Not necessarily a fun topic to think about or address but it’s a killer (quite literally) to live with day in and day out, everyday of one’s life.  Poverty and Injustice.  They happen all around us.  Sometimes we’re aware of them and often times, unintentionally, we’re completely oblivious to the realities that surround the people we live amongst. Last week I was told about two tragic stories that reflect this poverty...

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Ministry Giants…

Ministry Giants…

Do you have know those people that you totally look up to?  Those that are doing awesome things?  Doing awesome things as they allow God to use their giftings and their passions?  And while at the same time, making a Kingdom impact as well as an impact on the lives of others… the lives of people who are born into extreme poverty and will very likely live their entire lives in poverty?  Do you know what I’m talking about?  Do you...

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Wisdom in Birth

Wisdom in Birth

My midwifery courses are nearly all complete, my internship is wrapping up in the Philippines, and most of my “required numbers” are fulfilled. In less than a month, Lord willing, my formal midwifery education will be complete and all that will remain will be studying for and sitting for my midwifery board exams in mid-August. It’s at this point that I have total mixed emotions. Am I excited to be done with school? Absolutely!! Especially...

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Two by Two….

Two by Two….

  For some odd parental reason I now have the kids song, “the ants go marching one by one” stuck in my head thanks to the catchy title of this post! In the last week here at the Mercy Midwives Birthing Home we’ve had 4 deliveries… 4 precious new babies entered the world safely. And at least for these last four, they’ve come in two by two. The first set of two ladies delivered within 45 minutes of one another. A few days later,...

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Flyers

Flyers

Mercy Midwives Birthing Home is the birth center through Mercy In Action that I’m interning at here in Olongapo. Though Mercy In Action has initiated, successfully operated and turned over many birth centers in the last 21 years here in the Philippines, this particular birth center has only been open for just over a year. Word is still getting out. The first week that we were here, I helped Lanie, a Philippino friend and employee of Mercy...

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One Days Wage

Some exciting news was released yesterday.. One Day’s Wages is partnering with Eden Reforestation Projects who is partnering with us, Jamie and Alissa Shattenberg, to plant 100,000 more trees in Madagascar!  If you don’t know about One Day’s Wages… you should. Taken from their website, “One Day’s Wages (ODW) is a new grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global...

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“For how long shall we let our women continue to die?”

“For how long shall we let our women continue to die?”

Last weekend our family traveled to Antananarivo, the capital city, so that I could attend a conference about “Ideas For Women’s Cancer Control in Africa”.  This conference, organized by TEDx, brought in specialists from several countries, including Italy, France, India, Zimbabwe, the UK, South Africa, Madagascar and the good ole‘ US of A.  The speakers were as varied as the countries represented… medical directors, researchers,...

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Hidden Gems

Hidden Gems

Two weekends ago, we hopped in the car and drove 90 minutes south to the town of Ambositra, the wood-carving capital of the island.  While there, someone pointed out where we could find raffia handmade items.  We climbed up a steep trail and emerged at the top of the hill outside a traditional Malagasy house.  We were warmly welcomed in with a “Mandroso!”  There we met a sweet elderly woman sitting on the floor of her bedroom amidst a...

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