28 August 2008

I'd like to introduce you to...

my dear friend Sister Tracy.

You've met her before... remember she was the one giving flu vaccinations to the 250+ kids in the center a few months ago. But I'd like to give you a glimpse into her Monday and Thursday days at Emthonjeni.

Sister Tracy is a registered mid-wife.... and she has chosen for years now to use her talents helping moms in Zandspruit grow healthy babies. Every Monday and Thursday morning, she leaves her own two small children and runs the ante-natal clinic at Emthonjeni seeing about 300 moms every month. Here they get a general check up, a bite of food, a baby care package, and even education in the waiting room... on childbirth, child raising, HIV/AIDS, abuse, self esteem.

Sister Tracy's love for them is tangible - it's what the moms talk most about when they tell others about the clinic... and it's what keeps them coming back instead of going to the free government run clinic up the road.

It's an amazing thing - the Emthonjeni clinic charges 5Rand from each mother (R7=$1)... mostly to cover the salary of a local woman who has been trained as Sister Tracy's assistant. When we began charging moms for their visit, an amazing thing happened... they began to never miss an appointment. They began to dress up. They began to wear perfume.

In the past few weeks, the government clinic has been bullying Sister Tracy and the ante-natal clinic around a bit. Billy believes that their funding has been threatened unless they get their numbers up and they have decided that our clinic is the reason their numbers aren't strong. It's been a difficult couple of weeks. Maybe you'd pray for Sister Tracy ... the other Sisters at the government run clinic... and the pregnant moms in Zandspruit, who have the most to loose in all this.

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