Meet Titus Omondi—the first baby to be born in the newly constructed Maternity Ward! He was born on March 26th of this year and this picture was taken at the beginning of July. A healthy baby to a healthy mama—does it get any better than that?
Let me back up a moment--early last year we decided to partner with the local clinic in Sirembe, Kenya. It is the same area that all of our projects are based in, as well as the clinic that our children and staff get treated when they are sick. The facility was also where many local women would go to deliver babies and while they did the best that they could with the resources available, it was not very conducive to a healthy delivery. There was no drainage in the room and there was no real separation between delivering mothers with newborns and the other sick patients at the clinic. Many of these sick patients have highly communicable diseases such as TB, which is particularly dangerous for people with compromised immune systems. This is absolutely the case for delivering mothers and their newborn babies. It was very clear that a proper facility was needed.
At that time the local committee came together and decided what the needs were and had raised $12,000 from the Kenyan government. However, they needed an additional $25,000 to complete the construction that included a septic and drainage system. Our Restore Humanity Medical Committee (made up of local doctors and our Board of Directors) decided to step up and help out how we could.
We began raising funds and sent our first grant to them in April 2014. Each time we would send money we would send a Grant Agreement with it detailing what our money could be spent on. Their committee would report back to us with documentation and receipts of how the funds were spent and then we would send another grant when we had the funding. This went on for the next year and thanks to some very generous donors in Northwest Arkansas we raised the money needed to complete the project! During this time I was able to travel to Kenya twice to visit the site and see the progress.
Then at the end of March this year I got a call that the delivery room and septic system were finished and the first baby was born in our facility—Titus. It was a humbling moment to be sure, but not so much as when I got to meet Titus and his beautiful mother this July. They were both healthy and strong. We even got to give them a handmaid baby quilt with fleece lining to keep that cutie warm on cold nights.
That same day in July my fellow Board Member (and now fiancé) Herbert “Boo” Buchanan, Patrick Lumumba (a Key member of our Restore Humanity Team in Kenya) and I went to see the new facility. We were so lucky to get to meet a beautiful baby girl just a few hours old and her equally beautiful mother, Millicent.
What a gift life is and giving birth is such a miracle. It was such a blessing to be a part of making that experience better for Millicent and her sweet baby girl! Every woman deserves to have a safe and clean place to deliver with a qualified person to ensure safe delivery. We are so thankful to every single person that helped us accomplish this goal!
Another wonderful part about giving is that it inspires more giving! Due to the support that we gave this clinic the Kenyan government visited again, saw how much progress had been made and gave them an additional $3,000 for equipment and a local Kenyan non-profit gave them a delivery bed, a heart Doppler machine, and a microscope for a future lab!
Check out all of the photos below of the new facility and some of the essential Kenyan people that made it possible, namely the Clinical Officer Arthur Wamalwa that put in countless hours in planning, implementing, and reporting for this project--all the while running the rest of the facility! We could not have done it any of this without him!
A special thanks to the Chairman of our Medical Committee Dr. Scott Bailey and his wonderful wife Leslie—they opened their home and hearts to this project and got our entire community on board! You two are amazing!