On our 2nd day in Tanzania, women from around Arusha knew that ROAM was coming to bring expectant mothers the supplies and kits they would need for childbirth and recovery. They excitedly walked countless miles from villages to come. One Maasai woman in particular, unaware of her impending due date, went into labor the night before we arrived. As is all too common in Africa, she didn’t have access to good quality care; her baby was breech and died during delivery. In first-world countries, a breech baby is not a death sentence for the infant. But in these more remote regions of Africa, women are lucky if their birth goes smoothly without complications. This woman was yet another example of staggering odds.
Lindsay, ROAM Humanitarian’s founder, wanted to spend time and talk with this grieving and recovering mother as soon as she heard of her story. Dressed in their traditional robes and beads, she attended to the mother and with a translator nearby, expressed her deep sorrow in a way that surpassed language or cultural barriers. This sweet mother cried in Lindsay’s arms and soaked her sleeve with tears over the sudden loss of her infant. With their hearts united in the love of motherhood and in the universal emotion of grief, it was a sacred and treasured memory from our time in this village.
This woman reminds us of why we do what we do at ROAM: to serve the one. Africa is much too large a continent, and even Tanzania much too large a country to be able to change it all overnight, but our objective with these expeditions is to train the eyes and hearts of our groups to look for the one. This woman reminds us that showing up with nothing else other than a desire to love, is often enough.
We were are able to meet the midwives of the village. They had been delivering babies with one razor blade and no supplies. We were able to provide midwife kits for 30 more births. One of the participants saw the condition of the labor and delivery mattress and decided right then to provided a donation for a new bed for the women in labor.