A Walk in the Woods…A Walk Without Borders

Today was a gloriously beautiful day as my daughter and I went for a long walk in our neighborhood. It was a crisp 13 degrees and the sky was a clear blue. Several of the trees lining the streets had already started altering their color from summer green to the customary bright red and orange of the Fall season. It wasn’t long before we heard a dozen or so majestic Canadian geese honking their goodbyes as they head down south for the Winter.

As I walked, I contemplated a mother in South Sudan who had walked for 5 hours while carrying her severely sick, malnourished 2 year old, trying to get him medical attention. This is the story that I learned about through Médecins Sans Frontières’  latest challenge ‘Walk Without Borders‘. My husband sent me the link yesterday from work and as I read through the stories on the MSF website, this mother and her son in particular struck a chord with me because of being a mother myself with an almost 2 year old.

As I pushed my daughter’s stroller around the neighborhood knowing that she is safe and healthy, I wondered what this other mother must have felt like, walking kilometer after kilometer, running away from fighting near her village, probably hungry and exhausted, hoping she would make it to a clinic in time to save her little boy. Thankfully, her precious little one was treated and he survived. A mother’s instinct to save her son even under extreme conditions was rewarded.

I’m excited to be supporting this initiative of MSF over the next few weeks. My goal is to walk 50 km and my fundraising goal can be found on this page. I wasn’t sure how to keep track of how many kilometers I walk, so this morning I tried using the iPhone app “Map My Walk” and it worked really well. It gave me verbal updates every 10 minutes about how far I had walked and the pace of my walking. Since the weather was so beautiful and there are no more mosquitoes in the woods, my daughter and I wandered further than usual and we ended up in a new neighborhood to explore. By the time we got back home, it was an hour later and we had covered 5.5 km. Since I have about 3 weeks before the MSF challenge ends, I am aiming to walk about 2 to 4kms on most days of the week.

When we were back in the house, and I watched my daughter have a pretend conversation with daddy on one of my old phones, I couldn’t help being reminded how much I have to be grateful for living in a safe country with relatively easy access to medical care for my family. This is not the case for so many people, and it is truly humbling to remember this.

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at freedigitalphotos.net

Save The Mothers……An Enlightening Conversation

Today was the last session of the ‘Women’s Morning Out’ at my church where we had some invigorating exercise. Since it was the last session of the season, we went all-out bringing a plethora of delicacies to enjoy post-workout. We then had fellowship time where we chatted and prayed for each other for the coming year. I finally announced my recent med school plans to the ladies and they were so supportive! It’s always such a blessing to be surrounded by these ladies.

Following prayer-time, I had an interesting discussion with one of my friends who leads the exercise class. She told me about an international organization called Save the Mothers that focuses on improving the health of mothers and babies, particularly in regards to safe child-birth. As my friend described the organization, I could feel a tingling sensation all over my body and I could feel the excitement rising through me. The health of women, especially pregnant women, is an area that has been so close to my heart particularly following my miscarriage in 2010. To have then delivered two healthy, bouncing babies in the years to follow, surrounded by expert care here in Canada made me so appreciative of the resources we have in the developed world.

Delivering my babies was a life-changing, joyous, unforgettable experience and I feel strongly called to assisting other mothers to bring their little ones into the world with dignity. All mothers deserve access to the appropriate care that makes childbirth the best experience it can be and that maximizes the chances of survival for both mother and baby. Survival during pregnancy or childbirth is not something we often think about here in the West but some of the global statistics are staggering. The World Health Organization reports that approximately 800 maternal deaths occur daily from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, with 99% of these deaths occurring in developing countries. Many of these deaths occur from severe bleeding and infection, and could have been prevented. This is mind-blowing!

I still have a long road to becoming a doctor but it is conversations like these about the plight of others that strengthens my resolve to keep on trudging through, with the knowledge that I can and will make a difference.

From www.savethemothers.org
From http://www.savethemothers.org