Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's a girl!

I'm sorry for being so out of touch. Between my computer going haywire, spending entirely too much time trying to find a car* and keeping up with a LOT more work for school, posting and uploading pictures keeps getting pushed off. However, I miss sharing my life here, and I'm thankful that people continue to mention this blog to me - it means so much that you are reading.

I'll share a bit more when I get back up and running with my own computer (FedExed to South Africa for repairs today!), but in the meantime I want to share about one of the women who works at our house every day and who I know could benefit from some support from home (my native home, that is).

This is Maureen - a gal whose smile and laugh are the sort that can turn a bad mood around in no time - they're just utterly infectious. She works with my roommate's organization, ZanaA, and until recently was a junior field officer (one of the high school grads that are working with their younger peers doing empowerment groups and helping distribute sanitary pads). I was used to seeing her on Tuesdays and Fridays when they had group meetings and so I didn't know her very well until I returned this year and learned she was nearly 4 months pregnant (and now working in the office while she prepares to welcome her baby). I don't think it's my place to share the details of her pregnancy, but suffice it to say it was not planned, and Maureen was not responsible for it. Like the other junior field officers, her focus has been entirely on taking advantage of the opportunity her job with ZanaA has offered, and the hope that in breaking out of the poverty of the Nairobi slums, university lay ahead. Now, she worries constantly that having a baby will interfere with that hope, but I see her daily choose to focus on the positive of her health and her support network here to face the future as bravely as possible.

So why am I sharing this? Though Maureen has younger siblings, she's spent very little time with babies, but has taken on her impending motherhood with a level head and total responsibility. She's made a list of the things she needs to care for her child (a girl!) and hopefully accommodate her attending school, because she's not ready to give up on that dream yet. At the top of her list are the usual baby items - onesies, socks, receiving blankets, diapers, a crib etc. Because they don't have water in Kibera where she lives, cloth diapers aren't super feasible - but she would like some (and protectors) for when she has enough access, or when she simply can't get disposables. I thought that my Bay Area community might be especially helpful in this regard, along with seeking 1-2 portable breast pumps so she doesn't have to give up nursing if funding for university does come through. She's done some internet research and has also become aware of the various ailments nursing can cause - and would love any of the breast pads or creams that you moms out there have found to be especially helpful.

I have a friend coming to visit in February shortly after Maureen's baby will be born who has agreed to set aside a suitcase to help bring her any donations I can collect. Please share this with anyone you know who might be able to help (and financial donations are also very welcome via my paypal account - we are trying to raise at least a year's worth of rent in a larger house as her family currently shares one room, as well). If you can help with any of these items - shoot me an email at meganmacdon AT gmail DOT com and I will connect you with my friend who will carry the items over.

Thanks so much, and more from me soon (contingent on FedEx, that is!).

*It's done! A 1996 Rav4 is parked outside and carried me happily through the sort of errands and activities that would have taken twice as long with out it today :)

1 comment:

Allan Wills said...

Yes, please don't give up photographing or blogging... I'm a big fan!