At the end of March, my wife Laura and I traveled to Lwala with our daughters – 3.5-year-old Ma’lee and 1.5-year-old Madeleine. I was very excited to show my two little girls the place where I grew up.
During this most recent trip, Ma’lee got sick with diarrhea. She spent about a week in pain, dehydrated and feeling miserable. After accessing treatment at the Lwala Community Hospital, I was walking out carrying my tired and sleepy girl on my shoulder, when one of the other parents at the hospital came to greet me. I said, “I, too, have a patient here.” I felt a oneness and connection that comes with being a parent and wanting to take care of your children. They were seeking the same thing that Laura and I were seeking for our girls – good health. It was a great reminder for me that no child deserves to die because of where she or he was born.
On my 4th night in the village, I helped deliver a baby girl who was in respiratory distress shortly after birth. The mother looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Is she going to live, or should I call my husband and the rest of the family to have them get ready [for the funeral]?” I fought back tears as I stood there thinking of my own two girls. This mother deserved to bring back a bundle of joy to her family. So, we worked feverishly to resuscitate this baby, suctioning her little nostrils and giving her supplemental oxygen. As the life-giving oxygen flew into her precious lungs, her heart rate increased. A decade ago, she would have perished! But because she is now part of our over 97% of babies being delivered under the care of a skilled attendant, she lived!
A decade ago, we dared to pursue our father’s dream of building a clinic. We dared to dream of hope in the dark. We dared to dream of children surviving and thriving. We are aiming to reduce the under-5 mortality by 50% of the regional rate because we know EVERY CHILD DESERVES A 5TH BIRTHDAY.
Click here to view the 2015 ANNUAL REPORT, where you’ll learn how Lwala Community Alliance is partnering with the people of the Lwala community and changing their story.
Please join us in writing the rest of the Lwala story as we honor the dreams of the children of Lwala.
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