An Old Man, a Young Boy, Cricket and…Maternal Health

first_imgPosted on February 28, 2011June 20, 2017By: Hellen Kotlolo, Young Champion of Maternal HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This blog post was contributed by Hellen Kotlolo, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.In South Africa and for myself January symbolizes the beginning of a new season, the New Year, the beginning of school…but mostly it symbolizes the beginning of new things. Former South African President Nelson Mandela now aged 92 years has been sick and hospitalized. I was saddened by the news and praying daily. The fear I have is that many South Africans face the reality of one day losing a legend who has transformed our country, our world and our people. I realized my own selfishness yet also my attachment to this man whom I have never personally met. I am only 27 years old and the life I know is the life of inspiration, freedom, democracy and diversity, ‘the rainbow nation’. I just realized that many outcomes of my life are based on his sufferings and as I was talking to Faatimaa Ahmedi and Ifeyinwa Madu about many other issues I realized the spirit of his life when Faatimaa said to me, “Some people like Nelson Mandela recognized their mission in this world and accomplished it perfectly! Now it is our turn to identify what our role is and what we are supposed to achieve.”I have been in India for 5 months and the project here is at the intervention and implementation phase. On the 18th of January we travelled to Jodhpur for a training of trainers and for field visits. The first two days consisted of training sessions on Birth Preparedness and Complications Readiness and then there were four days of field work in ten villages. We used the picture books on government entitlements, danger signs during pregnancy, birth and postpartum teaching as well as safe delivery including the birth preparedness calendar. We also took time to visit a Primary Health Centre and a Community Health Centre in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and the conditions were not the best with an iron bed and a bucket below for blood which I think is one of the core reasons of home deliveries. Some of the major challenges we faced were:Social and gender inequalities; women were refusing to talk if men were presentHigh illiteracy in almost all the villages and for the registration the women had to do thumbprints as many could not sign their namesThe role of women was considered to be that of being housewives and bearing children, and all the women complained about having little time for the training as many were either pregnant with an infant of less than 12 months breastfeeding or with two or three young children around herWomen were very shy about the female reproductive system or pages in the picture displaying a woman giving birth or bleeding, and it was followed by giggles or women turning away or bending their heads downPoverty displayed a major role in lack of access though the results also differed from village to villageChildren were malnourished and at risk of kwashiorkor and many were not attending school regularlyThe presence of men in the meetings was not welcomed, yet I felt there was both an interest and a need to learn. Allowing the men to sit amongst the women to learn about women’s issues may be a very necessary intervention in this area. There is also a great need to explore such issues as understanding of the body’s anatomy and physiology and issues around family planning, but I realize we cannot achieve all these changes in one day.In the evening of our return to the training centre where we were staying there was an eager boy who took us to the sand dunes for sunset. We watched cricket matches together with other colleagues, between South Africa and India. South Africa eventually won the five day series. Many people had either never seen a black person or had little knowledge about Africa except for its poverty. My new friend indicated they were taught in school about the poverty in Africa. It was initially hard to relate on a social level but as soon as I mentioned cricket it was easier to grasp attention. Even when giving health education and engaging with the women in the field somehow cricket allowed an entry to the hearts of women and their relatives on discussing maternal health issues. One evening I gave the boy one of my books and sat with him to try and teach him how to read English better. One my favorite stories is that told by Yeabsira Mehari in her previous blog, “A Starfish Saved.” In all the days in rural Rajasthan I was often disheartened to see the children not going to school while their parents could not read and write. It is a vicious cycle of events but this boy showed something different: a passion to thrive. And it was not I who made a difference in his life, it was he who wanted to learn more. I realised hope exists amongst all of us.In the end I realized my mission has many unaccomplished aspects. Thinking back over the things that occurred: one man has inspired us to be better and achieve missions impossible, and with patience they can be achieved. Sometimes the oddest things can link people and assist communication, in this case the sport of cricket connected me with people. A young boy’s efforts to read and learn the skill showed me that even desolate environments cannot remove inspiration and hope. May these lessons bring me closer to achieving maternal health outcomes.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Miami Florida Reported by Elite Traveler the pr

first_imgMiami, Florida- Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineThe Mandarin Oriental, Miami is celebrating its Asian roots with a new Asian art exhibition, featuring more than 20 pieces illustrating portraits, landscapes and still life using Chinese ink. The unique exhibition is commissioned by a group of eight native Miami artists called Guild and serves as a prelude to Art Basel Miami Beach. Guests and art lovers can view the exhibit in the hotel’s lobby throughout November 2012.The Guild artists featured in the exhibition have been working together since 2010. The group united around the principles of originality and craftsmanship, believing their art reflects meaning through creativity and ambiguity. The artists use Chinese inks, commonly used in fine calligraphy, to produce the pieces in the exhibition. Fine calligraphy is considered one of the highest arts in Chinese culture, making the exhibition an appropriate compliment to the hotel’s roots and artistic role.“Our hotel has long played a role in Miami’s prominent art scene,” says Jorge Gonzalez, General Manager and Vice President of Mandarin Oriental, Miami. “We are delighted to support local artists and look forward to welcoming guests and Miami residents alike to view these specially designed pieces.”The luxury hotel will kick off the exhibit with an exclusive live art presentation on Saturday, November 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at M-Bar, the hotel’s lobby bar. While guests are viewing the exhibition, Guild artists will be hard at work creating pieces of art ranging from surrealistic to abstract pieces around the hotel. The event will also include live music and cocktails with the dramatic views of the bay and the Miami skyline serving as the backdrop. Guests staying at the hotel during the exhibition will receive a beautiful Mandarin Oriental Art Book. Room rates begin at $359 a night.www.mandarinoriental.comlast_img read more