Written by Julia Hagedorn, volunteer midwife from Germany
Every day, I take a bumpy, dusty ride on my bike to join the wonderful and cheerful people that have already stolen my heart. The ride to the Shanti Birth House takes me through green gardens, banana plantations and busy places with kids filling their yellow jerrycans with water. There is a distinct smell in the air – a mixture out of burned rubbish and the fresh scent of Yasmin. I can see many hard working Ugandan women and men in their traditional dresses. Slowing down my ride allows me to look more closely and open my mind to the Ugandan way of life. Life in Uganda can be tough, but the people always have huge smiles on their faces.
The weekends provide a chance to see the beautiful country – the nature, the landscape, and the wild animals. On a typical day I sit down in Shanti’s beautiful garden to enjoy the sunshine, observe a prenatal yoga class and the WIGG women working, play and laugh with the kids, listen to the birds, or take care of a mother in labour. These are the little things that make Shanti special.
Shanti’s projects aim to empower women and honor birthing mothers. They have a deep impact on the lives of the
Ugandan people and definitely make a difference in the community. I hope to bring the message to Ugandan people that birth can be an empowering and joyful experience. I think the most important part of working as a midwife is to make
mothers feel welcomed, listened to, respected, and at home.
Some days at Shanti can be a challenge, as you must learn patience and serenity. Everything works slower and is different than at home. During my experience in Uganda I was taught how to bake a cake without an oven, how to cut a pineapple properly, and how to take the perfect bucket shower.
And, last, but not least, I learned one of the most important lessons: How much family, friendship and home really means to me. So go ahead- dream, explore and discover!