Nic and I last left Uganda in 2010. We had completed the construction of the Birth House and the women who make up the Women’s Income Generating Group were both celebrating their new work-space and mourning the loss of our soul-sister and group member, Harriet.
Teopista, one of our women’s group members, and I were both pregnant and we left the Birth House in the good hands of long-time Shanti supporter and past president, Kristen Porter.
Throughout the trip, what we discovered was a reminder that the interconnected impact of the work we do weaves deeply throughout the community. Teopista’s son, Christopher is now a toddler and makes his way around the grounds. Kiguli, a member of our women’s group, stands tall and proud while acting out the story of her improved health in a play the women prepared for our visitors. Rose shares with us how hard it was working in the fields before making a regular income through jewellery sales. Women gracefully make their way to the centre for antenatal care draped in the colourful traditional dress – they are met by our midwives and their husbands patiently wait on the hand sculpted earthen benches that line our walls. Florence, a Traditional Birth Attendant guides a group of pregnant mothers in a gentle prenatal yoga class under the shade of the outdoor round hut.
Ben, Shanti’s driver, Kiguli and Florence have all celebrated the graduation of their daughters from Shanti Uganda’s Teen Girls Health and Wellness Workshop. Our staff share stories of the respect they now receive in the community as ‘Shanti Staff’ and how they can now afford to pay school fees and feed their families. A school is being built deep in Nsaasi Village, the road was repaired and in the last few weeks 10 babies made their way into the world with the support of our dedicated midwives.