Chai with Flora
by Dena Thomas, Monitoring and Evaluations Intern.
Under the cool shade of a Gasiya tree at Shanti, long time employee Florence Nagawa and I sit down to talk about her life and her experience working here at the birth house in Kasana.
Flora was born in the Kiboga district of Kasaga in 1964. She would visit her grandmother as a young girl of 13 years, when she began to learn the skills of a traditional birth attendant. She stopped going to school in S2 when her dad refused to pay her school fees further. She shortly married and had 8 children with her husband who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2009. She has also lost one daughter to HIV/AIDS at 24 yrs old. Florence was one of the original Ugandans involved in the Shanti project. She began as an advocate for Shanti Uganda in 2009, moving from one neighbourhood to another. Flora mobilized the community by placing posters at churches and township offices, and by talking to women about the services that Shanti provided. She was hired in 2010, originally for birth support and sanitation staff at Shanti, but her responsibilities have grown to include leading yoga sessions for the women every Thursday, advising mothers on health education: post natal care, nutrition, hygiene and family planning. She is also a doula for the mothers in labour at Shanti. Flora is very proud of her personal growth and over the past 5 years. She aspires one day to become a midwife and increase her involvement in the safe delivery process for Mums in the Kasana region.
She dreams about one day having her own set of scrubs that say: