While driving through Kakata recently, we saw a pan pan start to wobble. The passenger was carrying a bag of charcoal that apparently wasn’t balanced properly. The pan pan started heading toward our vehicle but Becky, who was driving, managed to get out of its way. A moment later, the pan pan overturned, scattering driver, passenger, and charcoal.
Just a few days before, a friend of ours showed us her injuries from a pan pan accident. She had a scar on her leg and her right arm was still swollen. I expressed admiration that she had continued to work, as I probably would have been using sick leave had that happened to me. She replied, “Well you see, in Liberia we have no choice.” She also told me that in most circumstances when you call for an ambulance in Liberia, you pay up front for the service or you’re not transported to the hospital.
This made me think of woman who develop complications when the “pain grabs them” (when they are in labor). Some of the fistula survivors I’ve spoken to have told me that the Traditional Tribal Midwife (TTM) did things such as bounce on their belly or cause them to gag in order to aid the delivery. Eventually the TTM realizes that medical intervention is required.
How will the expectant mother get to the hospital? Will she have to walk? Will she need to use public transportation? What if her complications are serious enough to necessitate an ambulance? Can her family afford to pay?
Dignity:Liberia’s maternity waiting home, House of Hope and Dignity will have a trained midwife who will be able to better assess the needs of a mother-to-be before her labor erodes into a crisis. An ambulance will be available for transportation should the need arise, and payment will not be required up front before the expectant mother can be transported to a hospital.
The construction of House of Hope and Dignity is going well. We anticipate our home being operational in 2022. We are thankful for the support all of you have given us but much is still needed. If you are able, please make an additional donation to us by clicking on this link.
Kathy Beth Stavinoha
Kathy Beth lives and works in Austin, TX. She graduated from high school in Monrovia, Liberia in 1977.