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Giving birth along the Bamu River | Stories from Papua New Guinea

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Brand new baby. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

Here—among the swampy shores and the villages perched on stilts—lies the Bamu River in the Western Province, one of Papua New Guinea’s poorest and least developed regions.

Woman and child. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

It is not uncommon in this area for women to marry as young as 15 or 16 and begin having babies soon after.

Pregnant mother. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

One woman I met in her early thirties was pregnant with her ninth child. She came to our clinic seeking family planning – exhausted by the struggle of feeding the children she already had.

Family in canoe. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

Each village – a culture unto itself – often has its own dialect, beliefs and customs.

Yet there are also many commonalities between the women of the Bamu region:

They are the primary providers for their families, working long hours to harvest sago in the hope that it will be enough to feed their husbands and children for one more day.

They are clothed in long-forgotten hand-me-downs, often torn and stained from years of use.

Some drink from water tanks, others live in villages where clean water is not yet available.

They give birth without fanfare and raise children without parenting books.

Mother, baby, and toddler. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

Delivery room. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

Newborn baby. Giving birth in the Bamu River region, Western Province, PNG.

Please continue reading this story at YWAM Medical Ships.

Dear friends, these stories are so important to me. Not just because I want to help the women of Papua New Guinea, but because I want to help women and families all over the developing world. Their stories represent hundreds of thousands of lives… and millions of opportunities. If you haven’t already, please read Bokoro’s Story (my hero who gave birth in the mud) and Josephine’s Story (my mama-loving sister who lost her own child but helps deliver others’ in a bamboo hut). If nothing else, just take a moment to be grateful for your own lives and babies. (Or maybe even get involved.)


 

2 Comments

  • Reply Umi's story and Project Baby Bilim 8 October 2012 at 9:31 pm

    […] Story: Giving birth in the mud Josephine’s Story: A drink of water Giving birth along the Bamu River: Stories from Papua New Guinea Bloggers for Birth Kits: Helping to reduce maternal mortality in the developing world var […]

  • Reply With full hearts we return | the bookers down under 20 October 2012 at 5:26 pm

    […] Already I’ve posted several stories on the YWAM Ships website: Giving Birth in the Mud, Equipping Local Health Care Workers to Test and Treat Malaria, and Maternal Care on the Banks of the Bamu. […]

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