The reactions from parents and participants in Dakar have been very encouraging. This was our first year working with Youth With A Mission and we were really able to build on each other’s strengths in serving the community. In Linguère, our partner Lutheran Development Services (SLDS) has completed community workshops on nutrition and the vegetable garden is closed for the season. Many tubs of vegetables have been either shared among the members of the association of people living with HIV/AIDS or have been sold at the local market — a recent religious festival brought in many eager buyers.
Of course the work of supporting families that take care of newborn orphans is not limited to a particular season. Just yesterday I received an email from SLDS in Linguère that I’d like to share with you. While I try to vary topics in my newsletter and did just last month also write about a newborn orphan, this letter is very much on my mind:
Good evening everybody,
My daughter was married at 12 years of age and had her first child when she was 14. At 16 she delivered these twins; she did not make it.
On May 21, SLDS received a call from Doctor Sow, a Christian doctor in the nearby town of Dahra who has been involved in World Renew Senegal’s Embrace AIDS program, asking if he could refer twins who had lost their mother in childbirth. The next day, the childminders and the grandmother came here and the mother of the deceased explained to us: "My daughter was married at 12 years of age and had her first child when she was 14. At 16 she delivered these twins and she did not make it. She was in labour at home when complications arose and it cost her her life.”
The SLDS staff explained to her that early pregnancies are very dangerous to both the mother and the child and the reasons for her daughter's demise could have been avoided. In addition, the birth of twins needs particular attention because it is a high risk pregnancy.
The grandmother said she would tell all the women of her village not to give their daughters in marriage before they are 18 years old: "Today, having heard what you said, I know that the death of my daughter could have been avoided if she had had the age and the medical care necessary. I thank you and the program for opening my eyes. Thank you as well for the milk and the materials. Without this program, my grandchildren would have joined their mother because, as you can see, I don't even have the means to pay for clothes for them and their father doesn't have anything either. Please pass on my sincere thanks to the program.”
- I [Esther] have just come back safely from my Connections Tour. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many of you. Johanna is in school in Leiden until summer vacation and is having a good time cycling and doing group projects.
- The Adolescent Health Groups in Dakar are approaching the end of the curriculum. They will be organizing community events soon, which is always a challenge in communities that have never hosted this program. We hope many parents will come out to support their children and hear more about what they have learned.
- Many families in the Linguère area have already left on transhumance — the seasonal migration with cattle from one grazing land to another — because so little grass grew this year. We hope there will be enough rain this coming rainy season (August-October) so the transhumance period will not need to be so long next year.
World Renew Senegal