Email from Zimbabwe
 
Dear Thoko,
 
How are you?We are all fine and getting fired up in preparation for 100 years celebration of The Rotary Foundation.
 
I apologise profusely for  the breakdown of communication on the above project and yet a lot has happened.We have almost finished project.There was a misunderstanding between the community and Rotary Club of Bulawayo.The community came up with a list of other additional   needs that were not initially agreed on.I am happy to advise that Rtn  PP Margaret, Rtn PAG Ed and me travelled to Lupane to clear all the misunderstanding we are all on the same page now.
 
 
We sourced the beds and mattresses- 6 all in all.The community requested a kitchen for waiting mothers.Fortunately we had a balance of almost $700 and hopefully it would be enough to construct the kitchen,should the funds not be enough, the community promised to mobilise funds to bring it  to completion.
 
I want to take this opportunity to thank your club for all the assistance, and also to let them know how excited the community is about the Shelter.You would also be happy to know  that the the District Medical Officer is under pressure to open  the place for use from the community.
 
Our treasurer will give you a comprehensive breakdown of the funds donated once the project is finally complete.We hope to complete the kitchen structure by end of September, everything else being equal.
Find attached pictures, latest, except for one picture to assist you with the beginning.
 
Kind Regards
 
Tshengi
 
       
 
 
Tshengi:  
 
Thank you so much for the update on progress made on the Shelter and for sharing the pictures. I cannot wait to visit the shelter during my next visit.  The concept of a shelter means a lot to me as I recall when I was growing up at Nyadire Mission,  outside of Harare.  I was 8 – 11 years old, and  there used to be a women’s maternity shelter right next to Nyadire Hospital. I recall this as if it is yesterday seeing pregnant women  in their 3rd trimester coming to stay at this shelter. They would bring a family member or so who would stay with them during the rest of their pregnancy.  We used to walk to the nearby grocery store to buy candy or whatever we needed, and we would see these women using firewood to cook their food.  It did not mean much to me as I was so young, however the more I reflect on this, the more I realize how important that shelter was and hope it is still there and is serving the purpose. 
 
There were no ambulances in the surrounding rural communities  or transportation that would bring these women in time for delivery and the shelter served an amazing purpose.  The Mission Hospital had one ambulance and that was not sufficient to cover all the neighboring communities and cities. One of the most painful stories that has never left me was when my mum who was a State Registered Nurse and the head of the Maternity Ward at that time told me a story of a woman, who could not make it to the shelter in time, but started giving birth in her rural home.   The head of the child came out first, but the rest of the body could not come out.  As there was noone to conduct a C Section, this woman was stuck in this position for 3 days which is the amount of time it took for someone to look for transportation to Nyadire Hospital so as to request an ambulance to pick her up.  By the time she arrived at the hospital, the baby had passed away and the body had decayed still in the woman’s womb and the head still protruding.   They conducted surgery and thankfully the mother survived.  I have never forgotten that experience and this is the reason why the concept of your shelter touched me so much.  
 
How pleasant it is to see Lupane having its own maternity shelter.  I see that the floor has been completed. Well done Bulawayo Rotary for such a great job.  We are honestly proud of your efforts.
 
I am copying Rotary E-Club of One World, District 5240 so they can realize the impact their contribution has made towards this noble cause.
 
Thank you again.  
 
Reply from Tshengi:
 
Hi Thoko,
 
Thank you for sharing such a touching reality.For once, I thought your mom must have also stayed in Lupane, as your experience and your mother's at Nyadire, mirror Lupane on every point.
 
The whole district is served by one ambulance in a radius  area of about 250km .The  clinic referes complicated cases to St Lukes Mission Hospital which  is about 40km away.The demand and pressure on that ambulance is frightening resulting in avoidable loss of life.
 
I take this opportunity to register our great appreciation of what the Rotary E Club of one World, District 5240, Aurora Club of UK and many other stakeholders have done, heeding the call to be part of this noble cause.The world has indeed become a global place and the faces of dying expectant mothers and babies become the face of our shame.There is no excuse to  look the other way.As Rotarians we continue to  challenge the status quo,through partnerships and interventions, maternal deaths and infant mortality will only exist in the past as "giving birth should not be a matter of life and death"
 
The  advantages of this maternity shelter will be ernomous.It will motivate expecting mothers to attend antenatal clinics so that any anomalies may be picked up early and  interventions done on time.Its proximity to the clinic, means there is a place for them to be observed by nurses before they recommend anything.Education of the mothers on family planning and other related issues may take place while they wait for the delivery date.
 
Once more, Thoko and your Club thank you very much and I will keep you posted on the progress of the Maternal Home
 
Have a good day
 
Kind Regards
 
Rotarian Tshengi
 
 
 
 
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