A few weeks back during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I invited you to join me in raising money for my favorite nonprofit, International Midwife Assistance. (The website is www.midwifeassist.org.) IMA, founded and operated by a friend of mine, midwife Jennifer Braun, went into Afghanistan and started a midwifery school in Bamiyan, where there were no midwives and where women died in childbirth every day. (To read my original post, which contains more information, click here.)
After helping to train many young women as midwives and after saving many lives and delivering hundreds of babies, the volunteer midwives of IMA had to leave Bamiyan, famous for the statues of the Buddha that were blown to smithereens by the Taliban.
They found new purpose in Uganda, where disease, poverty and decades of violence leave too many women to give birth on the mud floors of their huts with only their friends and mothers to help them. The maternal and infant death rate is staggering there.
I don’t know about you, but I found childbirth to be the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I cannot imagine being in labor for three or four days until I died. Or giving birth repeatedly to babies that die from preventable infections, such as tetanus, within weeks of being born.
IMA began to provide supplies and midwives to a clinic they helped get up and running and which is named the Teso Safe Motherhood Clinic. Women from three nearby IDP (internally displaced persons) camps come to the clinic for lifesaving health care. Not only do they receive prenatal and birthing care there, but they also get anti-malarial drugs, antibiotics for infections, screening for HIV and vaccinations for themselves and their children. Clinic staff also hand out a miraculous lifesaving device known as a “mosquito net.” In other words, they try to do all they medically can to help these women and children, many of whom are victims of rape and other violence.
In addition, they go out to areas with no medical care, places where an ear infection or strep throat or a broken bone might mean death, and they offer care there, too, not only to women and children, but to anyone who needs it.
The work that Jennifer and the other IMA staff and volunteers do in Uganda amazes me. Imagine getting an idea one day that saves hundreds of lives. That’s what they’ve done.
Well, some of you took me up on my idea for fundraising, each of you offering a modest sum that, when put together, adds up to a solid donation. You didn’t have to do this, but you did, and I am so very grateful.
My deepest thanks and heartfelt appreciation go to:
Hope Frost, Kris Gilson, Alyson Hackett, Kara Conrad, author Christy Reece, Jackie Prince, Crystal Scott, Mary G, Anne Woodall, and last but not least Ronlyn Howe!
I called Jennifer to let her know, and she was thrilled. She sends her thanks. She has worked in conditions where there weren’t even sterile gloves and babies had to be caught with gloves that were washed in a sink and hung to dry. She told me that even modest amounts of money go far in these parts of the world. After all, in Uganda $115/US is equal to about $250,000 schillings.
Each of us has the chance to change the lives of others, even people we don’t know. And you nine special women have done just that. You’ll each be getting an advance copy of Breaking Point. So e-mail me your addresses (or send them to Ronlyn to forward to me), and I’ll get your books in the mail when I get them in April. Or I can send you e-ARCs if you prefer that — and you can have that right now, tonight, instantaneously.
Yes, together romance authors and readers can change the world. Take that, you anti-romance novel snobs!
Update: Somehow, I left poor Anne Woodall out of the original post. Anne, I’m so sorry! Thanks so much for your contribution. It will make a difference to some young mother in Uganda. I really deeply appreciate it.