We want to start a new feature where once a week or so we will introduce you to some of the women we serve. Our goal is for you to hear their stories, see their faces, and get a better understanding of where they are coming from, the needs they face, and how we help. We are really excited for you to hear these stories.
Sometimes people get this idea in their head that every one Africa lives in a mud hut deep in the village. And while that is true for many people we meet and serve, Uganda also has several large cities. Kampala is a city of about 1.5 million people.
There are people in all economic classes. There are some extremely wealthy business and professional people. There are shopping malls, international schools, resorts, and mansions. There is also extreme poverty, and there are many people who are homeless or living in slums. It’s tough even to know the current population of the city because people move around a lot, and there is no way to really calculate the vast number of people living in these slums.
We met Carol in a Kampala slum. She attends a weekly bible study there run by Uniquely Woven. We’ve partnered with this group and their leader, Isabelle, for a very long time. We love the work they are doing.
Carol is a 30 year old widow. She has five children from ages 3 – 14 years old. She told me the story of when her youngest was born. Sadly, her husband died just before the baby was to be born. She is originally from Sudan and had no family close by to help her. She had no job and no way to care for her family. She was helpless. One day she was passing by and saw that there was some sort of education workshop going on in her neighborhood. She was very curious, especially when she found out they were talking about pregnancy. She came and listened to the teaching we were doing on prenatal education. This was one of our outreach events that we do in conjunction with Uniquely Woven. Carol was so excited when she got a mama kit for her delivery that day. She began attending the weekly bible study and became a Christian.
When it was time for her baby to be born, she went to the local clinic, but did not have her mama kit with her. They refused to help her. She called her neighbor to bring the kit to her. She had a difficult labor. Her water had broken, but she was also bleeding heavily. The local clinic decided that she needed to be transferred to a bigger hospital. However, she did not have money to pay for the ambulance. So she sat on a bed, bleeding, in labor, with no help. She did not know what she was going to do. Finally, a man came to the hospital to pick up his wife who had delivered earlier. He saw Carol and realized how desperate her situation was. He paid for the ambulance to take her to the hospital (it was about $9). Once she arrived at the hospital, she still did not get help right away. While she was in a triage area, the baby came quickly and she ended up delivering the baby by herself. Shortly after the delivery, the nurses wanted her to leave the hospital. They were upset that she had not delivered in the right room. This poor woman was still bleeding. She was exhausted, hungry, and all alone. Some of the other women in the hospital took pity on her. They pooled their money together to get her some food and to pay for a ride home for her. She took a motorcycle taxi home with her newborn just a few hours after giving birth.
This sounds like a nightmare delivery to me. I struggle to imagine having to endure all of those difficulties. However, when Carol told me the story, she said she saw all of the ways God provided for her. God provided a mama kit. He provided the money for the ambulance. He provided the food and transport back home. God protected her life and the life of her baby. She received the gift of salvation, which sustained her through such a difficult time. How narrow my vision can be at times. I fail to see how God is right there with us and providing, even in the midst of crisis.
Today, Carol is an active member of the women’s bible study. She is known to be their top mobilizer. She is always inviting other women to come. She wants them to learn how to be better mothers and how to have a relationship with God. She encourages all of the pregnant women to come to learn about pregnancy and delivery and to get their mama kits.
Carol recently lost her job as a bead maker. She is struggling with paying her rent and her children’s school fees. She asked us to pray for her. She also asked us to pray for the many people in her neighborhood that need Jesus. Will you pray for her today?