Meet the mamas

On Thursday morning we went with Naomi and Florence – two of GHI’s community educators – to the Rubungo health center. There are 5 community educators at GHI, and they are incredible women, affectionately referred to as ‘the mamas’. They’ve designed a comprehensive health curriculum that they teach to women enrolled in GHI’s programs at the health centers every week, covering everything from basic hand-washing and hygiene practices to family planning demonstrations. Anna and I walked with them to the health center, and got to sit in on their hygiene training. About 15 mothers came to the training, each with at least one baby in tow. We all sat in a room together, and Naomi and Florence spoke in Kinyarwanda about the importance of hand-washing and water purification. You could just tell how much mutual respect there was; despite the 10+ babies crawling all over the floor, the women listened attentively, and participated in the discussion and demonstrations. At the end, Naomi took attendance, and each woman came forward to collect a bar of soap and a bottle of Sur Eau (water purifying solution). It was exciting to see the mamas in action at the health center, but it was also very sobering. We met a woman with a very sick baby, who Florence told us had no house and no husband. We also met a woman who lost her two 9-month old twins on the same day earlier this week. When Naomi told us about this, she just looked at us and said, ‘Can you even imagine?’