Sunday, September 13, 2015
Mothers waiting for the Revolution
I wonder if mothers and babies need to wait for the revolution- or if creating a society where pregnant women and their young are cared for is the revolution?
The people I met in the mountains there in Southern Mindanao, are now my Facebook Friends and I watch them from time to time slip into view. Sometimes they send me a message or greeting. Sometimes they are involved in a political protest or an evacuation and other times there are photos of fun times with friends and family. They fall in love and go to beautiful places amongst the outrage of injustice.
The people who connected me with them, have not yet met with me. Times are set but never kept and the weeks slip by. At first the people are so close to me, I can feel them all around. I am desperate to do the simple things I promised. I did not want to just go and then come back and forget them. I pick very simple, very easy to accomplish tasks. I make a pack of pictures to show people. At first, I thrust the photos in visitors line of vision, and they look with some curiosity but I can tell it does not seem particularly real to them. I quietly grieve the loss of these new friends. I want to sing and be with them.
I had wanted to help them get Vitamin Angels. It is so simple. A short application but I need an organization. My children say, "If you need an organization to help mothers and children in the Philippines, you should start your own."
I say, "But it already exists. We just have to fill in the space on the application. I'll do all the work."
But they never give me the information. I call, email, text but it never happens.
They say there are more important issues than maternal and child health. They say, "How can they worry about maternal and newborn health when they might be killed?"
I reply, "More are dying in childbirth and in the first five years of life. " No one ever answers.
I have a pile of things to send with the next visitor from Portland but they go without theses things and eventually I put them aside.
I look up the political situation. The people are being manipulated by many foreign and local forces. People in Europe fund "health care and schools" but it is all in the name of a revolutionary force. They call the shots from afar, creating training camps and centers that are the face of the revolution.
They try to keep the communist revolution alive. After this, they will tend to mothers who bleed to death or babies who die on political marches from the mountains. Later.
I do not know enough about the political situation but I know that when mothers are safe to have babies when the choose and marry who they choose and are pretty sure their babies will live and grow up to get an education and will have food; that this will be revolutionary.
You can not simultaneously have forced child marriage, a disregard for women's health and a revolution dedicated to equality and social justice. Handing out prenatal vitamins and training health workers in basic life saving techniques, is not a Che moment. It is too ordinary.
But it is my revolution. The one I have struggled and fought for all these years. Tell me how you treat a woman who is pregnant . Tell me how you will treat her children and I will tell you the state of equity and social justice in your community or country or in the world.
The saying goes, There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. There is no way to revolution. Revolutions the way.
I only visited one small part of a vast network of islands. Islands that were gathered up and made into one country without understanding or consent. My friends in the those communities wake up and have coffee over a fire and sweep the yard and begin their day, even as I drink tea and sweep and begin my day.
I wave the revolutionary flag of prenatal care and safe transport for all women. I pack the weapons of clean birth kits and respect for women's reproductive health. There are midwives in the revolution - women and men who support them, marching for this basic building block of social justice. People who know that safe birth can not wait for political victories. It is now. One birth at a time.