I have a friend in the computer named Bridgette. I’ve known Bridgette for about five years; we met on one of the first online infertility support groups I joined.
Bridgette is one of those people that one aspires to be like. Always sweet, always kind. Always caring. I’ve never met her in person, but it feels like I’ve known her forever. She is always sending me cards, and notes and sweet emails.
When I first start posting about the plight of some of the poor in South Africa Bridgette really took their cause to heart. She wanted to do something, but she felt so helpless being so far away.
She asked what she could do and I told her about my sister’s charity, Bosom Buddies. What my sister does is collect things, both new (donated) and used and makes up a ‘new mom’ pack for the very poor, destitute moms who give birth at the government hospitals. These moms have nothing, besides the clothes on their back. They have to live on less than a dollar a day. They really do have nothing.
My sister’s charity is new, and once she has a website up I will post a link but what she does is employ unemployed ladies in the local community to sew diaper bags. She then collects donations and gifts and used things and makes up a ‘pack’ for each of the destitute moms. So that when they leave the hospital, the new baby has at least one outfit to keep warm in. My sister (the happy clapper one) is a doula by profession and this is her way of giving back to our community, our country. Her latest focus is on all the preemie babies in the NICU. Sadly, here in South Africa, the poor moms don’t have insurance and there are so little funds that preemies under 2.2 pounds are not put on ventilators. There are so few ventilators and equipment that only babies over 2.2 pounds are ventilated. Horrible.
Anyway, back to Bridgette. B decided that she wanted to help. And so she crocheted baby blankets and sent them over to me. I got the parcel yesterday and I wept when I opened it. In it were five boxes. Each box had a beautifully crotched baby blanket, an onesie, a lip gloss for the mom, a card and a packet of sweets. I am swallowing like mad as I write this so that I don’t start crying again.
Can you imagine this new mom, terrified out of her mind, no money, nothing, a brand new baby and then getting this parcel from a stranger in America? And more than just the stuff for the baby, the gift of the lip gloss is so special. Poor women are among the most marginalized in the country, they seldom have any resources to spend on themselves, and here is a tube of lip gloss, something just for them. Words fail me. I am going to give the parcels to my sister, to hand out when she does her rounds.
There really are beautiful people in this world, people who restore my faith in mankind, people like Bridgette. I am so honoured to know her.
Thank you Bridgette, you are wonderful.
In the U.S., babies who are suffering from respiratory distress are given a substance called surfactant as well as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). If this combination doesn’t give the baby enough breathing support, the baby may be put on mechanical ventilation.
However, in South Africa, babies do not get CPAP or surfactant on a routine basis and when they do, it’s much later when the children are already very sick.
“One reason is that CPAP requires intensive nursing, and in some parts of South Africa, nursing shortages preclude the use of CPAP until a baby is very ill,” Palmer said. “Another problem is the shortage of mechanical ventilators for those children who have very severe cases of respiratory distress. Many kids who don’t recover with the other options cannot get access to mechanical ventilators and many die.”