*If you are new to reading my blog (welcome everyone) please keep in mind that I write the truth and do not sugar coat or make anything fluffy. I report what I have seen with my own eyes and a lot of the time it is not pretty. In order to make the world a better place for women the world needs to fully understand what women are going through and what they have to face in order to survive.
I write about the survival of women.
Back On The Horse…or should I say airplane….
It’s been 6 weeks since we have returned home.
It is time to get back on the horse.
Reintegration was quite difficult this time.
So many emotions are wrapped up in what we do, how can they not be.
We are human after all.
And this is what reintegration does to you. It pulls every emotion out. The emotions that you have had for the last however many months, the trauma that you witnessed, the things that you had to see that you can never talk about…things that are so disturbing that you don’t want to say it out loud. You are forever changed by the things that you witness and the things that you can never “unsee”. The beautiful, amazing, and lovely aspects to this type of work supersede the ugly and the bad. But that is not always easy! Unfortunately its not the love, peace, and happiness that you have to recover from. Those are the memories you will always remember with beauty and love…these are the memories that keep you going.
Then you are once again reborn. You see the world in a completely different way. Every experience in life changes you for the better. This is like labor for many women…when they are in it, it is quite hard to see the end. It’s difficult to see through the intensity of the moment. But you know those moments are crucial so you push through to the other side. Then you forget what was so painful to begin with. And you do it again and again. Even though you know there will be more pain involved. This is not just childbirth but life for every single woman around the globe.
And then we get back on the horse.
Attacks, bombs, gun shots, fire...it seemed the the whole village was crumbling around her. They were coming for her and her family. Her husband knew that if they did not get out they would all die. She had already watched her sisters from her community perish. Over weeks that felt like years her husband was able to get the money together to get the family out. She does not want to know where the money came from. In the middle of the night the traffickers came to her village to get them out. They were leaving Afghanistan and heading to Europe. They were not allowed to bring any bags or personal items; only their cell phone and the clothes on their backs. They had no idea how they would eat, where they would sleep, or how they were getting to Turkey. They just went because they had to escape the most extreme violence that world has seen.
For 3 months they traveled across Afghanistan making their way to Turkey. On their way she was raped and tortured on a regular basis, her husband was tortured,and her children had to watch. The traffickers basically made them their slaves. And all they could do was just try to survive another day because eventually they would make it to freedom. Along the way she was wounded and her ribs were broken during the brutality. She also contracted a STI.
They were not alone. Thousands of families were escaping and unfortunately many of them were receiving the same treatment. Finally they made it to Turkey. Tired, sick, dehydrated, broken, brutalized, and terrified they were put on a rubber type dinghy that holds 40 people....there were close to 100 people on the boat. The crossing to Greece is one of the most dangerous parts of the trip. The waters are rough, freezing, and many people can not swim. As they were close to the shore the boat got swept up in a wave in the rough sea and capsized. Her, her husband, and children survived but her other family members were not so lucky. Neither were many others on the boat.
When they made it to shore they then had to walk 40 miles to the registration camp where they had to wait days and days to register in order to get through the next leg of the trip. Unfortunately once they get to Europe they see that the fighting and hate is not over. Their chances of survival are much higher in their new life.
In the last several years millions of women and families have fled their homes due to war and violence. Many of those refugees travel through Greece often risking everything. When the refugees land they have nothing. The smugglers will most likely have stripped them of any assets and they cannot take bags onto the boats. They are probably only a third of the way through their journey to a new life...if they make it. Sisters In Health is teaming with a sister organization called Midwife Pilgrim and other small groups and individuals on the ground to set up a women's health tent "clinic" on the ground in Lesvos. Health Point Project is the name of the collective group on the ground that is providing medical and health care. Our main goal is to help ensure that women and newborns receive care before their long and arduous journey continues. Every day at least 4000 refugees arrive in Lesvos, about 1500 are women.
Sisters In Health is putting out an urgent plea for financial support. There are multi thousands of women arriving in Lesvos right now. Many women arrive pregnant or with young children. Everyday the situation grows more grim. Right now there is no specific Midwifery or Obstetrical support for women arriving. Babies are being born regularly without specialized care. Premature births, complications, hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, STI's, and rape are all medical concerns that women arriving in Lesvos are facing. In mid December we will be deploying to Lesvos to bring aid, health care, peace, and love.
Many have asked what else they can do to help. Our community needs to lend a hand to our refugee sisters who have beaten the odds and survived.
The following is a story about a woman who survived; it is the cleaned up short version.
This is why Sisters In Health needs to be on the ground. Everyday women are arriving that need help. They need physical, emotional, and spiritual care. They need to be able to survive and live. Its that simple. The rescue effort in Lesvos consists mainly of small grass roots organization like us. Organizations that depend on the graciousness of their communities to help them make a difference to these women. Please help us give the women a better start to their new lives. What they have endured in order to survive in incomprehensible.
There are many ways to help.
Financial Donations (tax deductible)
Donate your time (Fundraising, online help, support, ideas, etc)
Join our team and come to Lesvos
What we are in need of:
Safe Birth Kits
Low resource medical and birth supplies
Dopplers (new or used is fine)
Hand Held Ultrasound
Neonatal Resuscitation Equipment
Baby Carriers and Slings (material/moby type)
Basic Birth Supplies
Sutures and Suturing Equipment (general and obstetric)
Love letters for the women, trinkets for kids, and anything you think that would be a loving token to give to the families to brighten their day
We will be having a fundraiser December 12 in the Orlando area. If you are in the area please come and support your global sisters!
Sisters In Health is actvley searching for organizations and individuals with the same missions, beliefs, and dreams. We do not want to reinvente the wheel, we want to provide effectve care! We would love to partner and align with others that want to make the world a better place for women!