Rwanda has an incredibly painful history, and while the bloodshed of the 1990s may have ceased, its poverty continues. It was here, in a remote mountainside village, that an ADRA colleague met Diane.
They met outside a tiny, two-room mud house. Diane had just gone into labor, and it had started to rain. Rain is rare in this part of the country, so the small plot of cassava and beans that belonged to Diane and her husband, Gideon, was dry and shriveled, like those of the other families. But it wasn’t only the death of their food and livelihoods that they feared. Standing among the rain, they were scared of losing another baby.
Just a few years ago Diane lost a baby just moments after it was born. It’s a shocking event, made even more shocking by how common it is in places like this.
“I was so sad when I lost my baby,” Diane told our colleague. “I think if I had gotten to the clinic sooner, maybe it would be alive today.”
Diane lives five miles from the health clinic. Though the distance may not seem far, the condition of the roads is terrible—eroded from heavy rainfall, the roads are more like trails. It’s a trip mothers from Diane’s rural village make in the midst of labor, either on foot or, if they can afford it, dangerously on the back of a motorbike. Can you imagine the pain and fear they must experience on a journey like that?
Sadly for Diane, she began her journey too late and arrived at the clinic experiencing serious complications. The condition of her and her baby required her to go to the nearest hospital, another hour away.
The trip and the wait were too long. Her baby was dead.
This should never happen. God never intended for Diane or any mother to have to bury their babies. You can understand why, underneath the stormy Rwandan sky, with contractions pulling at her body yet again, Diane was scared. Another death would be too much for her and Gideon to bear.
“I worry all the time when my wife is pregnant,” Gideon said. He’s a good husband, doing whatever he can to support his wife but is well aware that life has not and will not be easy.
“We live in a very rural area. I worry that she will wait too long to go to the health center and again have complications. I make sure to give her as many fruits and vegetables during her pregnancy that I can find so that she and the baby are healthy and strong.”
Gideon tries his best to give his wife everything she needs for a safe and healthy delivery. He wants nothing more than a healthy baby and wife. It’s in times like these when we feel like we’ve done all we can, that we need the support of others.