My friend wanted to have a baby and then she died instead

Philo Ikonya
Posted February 16, 2010 from Kenya
Government has a sacred duty to ensure a better better future for these ©photo by Marisa Fushille, Nairobi
Government has a sacred duty to ensure a better better future for these ©photo by Marisa Fushille, Nairobi
Government has a sacred duty to ensure a better better future for these ©photo by Marisa Fushille, Nairobi (1/2)

The last time I spoke to Mumbi, a young mother and community organiser in Huruma, Kiamaiko slum area in Nairobi, she was distraught! Her friend Lilian -who read to us parts of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.s speech "I have a Dream" in her mother tongue (Maragoli) at a tense time when Kenya was subjected to violence after the election of 2007,died all alone whilst in labour without help in her little room. Violence in the slums never stops. It is only that we only like to focus on killings of another type!

"I wish I knew what Lillian was going through. I wish I was there!,", Mumbi told me in tears, "I would have saved her life!". Mumbi suffered alot and still is. I tried to tell her it was not her fault but I also feel very hurt. Lilian died holding her dreams in her hands and writhing in pain. But now Mumbi is looking at life more critically as a community organiser. She sees things in a broaders sense. An interview with her will follow later on my pages. I wanted her to share her typical day's task and her life in Huruma so that we could send her some inspiration and hope. What would you like me to ask her or tell her? Please post to me. I am sure many of us are familiar with hard situations. For now, I would like to share what she sent me. I hope that you will be patient to follow Mumbi's story with me as she shares who was and what happened to her friend Lilian. These situations are common in many of the countries of the world and everyone I think should take note. It is not a problem of poor developing countries on their own because often the causes of dire poverty are shared or are rooted in better off countries.

Mumbi writes,

I am a community organizer and have been for years. What I think is based on my experiences as a community worker, meeting and coming across countless families in extreme distress, facing disease and death at a level that is hard to imagine for the middle class Nairobi community living comfortable lives driving posh vehicle you could imagine of.

Every week 5 to 10 pregnant women die in villages or local hospital during child birth and when performing abortion. Can you imagine by the end of the year how many women will have died, and not even one will be registered by the local media.

What would have happened if so many mothers “to- be” died in hospitals like Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan, and mater hospital name it? I fail to understand. Do the lives of these poor women in poor communities have less value than those who have?

Women from poor communities who are the majority in the Kenya population need support, and I hope that their lives are valuable enough for us to put resources on the table to save them. I believe that Kenya has enough resources that can to solve the problems women in the grassroots are facing due to lack of proper facilities in government hospitals costing us loss of many lives unsafe abortion claiming many lives of young girls in our society.

How many millions of shillings have been pumped into failing parastatals over the past few years in order to save them from collapse? Why can’t our leaders do something similar to save large portions of humanity especially women and children from starvation, disease and death? Is this not an important cause to support?

Secondary education is beyond the reach of many poor women, if the girl child and others are not educated then how much poverty, violence and criminality will they cause as they grow into unhealthy lawless, uneducated adults? We feel it high time that our government should be held answerable of the unnecessary deaths of young women and girls on its failure to achieve on the millennium development goals that promote safe mother hood.

Report by Ruth mumbi bunge la mwananchi women chapter/kiamaiko young women

--- On Tue, 2/16/10, Mumbi Ruth

Comments 4

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  • Olutosin
    Feb 17, 2010
    Feb 17, 2010

    My Dear sister,

    When we were asked to write our last assignment on VOF, I titled my write up "Give life and Live Too"", because I have seen several women die while giving life and worst still when it happened to a loved ones, as we always say in Africa, God Understands, that is we are befuddled, we do not know what to say. May God continue to protect those ones she left behind.

    The fact we do not want to face is that our leaders are heartless, as long as it does not concern them, they do not care except we shout, scream and bring down buildings, the way women die in Nigeria is alarming. It seems as if our lives are worthless, have you ever heard that the daughter of our President died during child birth? They only die from diseases that has no cure or that Doctors from USA and Saudi Arabia cannot cure.

    But God is greater thatn them all, we will survive immediately we begin have healthy discontent about our situations.

    Respect sis.

  • Philo Ikonya
    Feb 17, 2010
    Feb 17, 2010

    Sis Olutosin,

    I like your take. and it is true about our goverments.. but I think both situations baffle God and am not belittling God.. it is just that I feel that if we say God.. though I know you are @ frustrations of Mumbi but often people here say, ni shauri ya Mungu.It is God's business..

    But, is it?

    Our governments almost all say they are and even the people quite Christian or Moslem.. but God is not in our hearts.. heartless.. God is not in our minds.. we do not realise too many people go to pray about problems thas someone else should just resolve in the course of their daily work. Like sitting in a public hospital that is supposed to have a doctor 24 hours.. and praying that the doctor comes.. and it is Christmas Day and that is why the doc is not there.. It happened to me that the doc was not there.. I was so furious.. He came. All sorts of preachers had been yelling at the sick to be ready to die.. this was to me like hell..

    But you are right..we lose toomany.. and youa re very right to say.. when we have healthy discontent.. and too often that is not the case!!

    let us continue talking.

    With admiration!

  • Maurine mumia
    Feb 17, 2010
    Feb 17, 2010

    It is a common phenomena that can be dealt with.our leaders are busy politicking when their greatest voters are dying!when you visit a public hospital no one attends to you.just because you are poor you are left for death.its time our government got serious about the health of the women!

  • Olutosin
    Feb 17, 2010
    Feb 17, 2010

    My Sis, The only consolation we have is God, you know that I have never been one to be on the side of government, but there is one thing I am so sure of, if God protects, no one can kill.

    I have lost hope ion government and place all hope in God! A doctor who is supposed to be on duty and refused to perform what is paid to do is in the hands of God, my sister, but what saddens me are the innocent lives lost in the process of negligence. Respect