Volume 6

~ News From "Your Birthing Family" ~

Issue 11

Charis Around the World

Childbirth in Kenya
by Jannekah Guya

Amariah, Jannekah, Martin and  Ezriel Guya

The night of October 31st was the very best night of my month and it had nothing what-so-ever to do with Halloween. (=  At around 6:40 pm I got a call from the traditional birth attendant I work with that a woman was in labor at her house.  At that moment I was already deeply engrossed in helping one of my best friends who is 7 months pregnant and has a one-year-old daughter.  She had been thrown in jail due to a debt of about $300.  She was so distraught I was worried she could go into labor.

Last year I was in a similar situation just days before my due date.  I hadn’t done anything wrong, but corrupt and cruel-hearted policemen captured me and saw an opportunity to exploit my “situation”. Compassionate strangers tried to plead with them saying, “Can’t you see?!  She could go into labor at any moment!”  The officer in charge sneered and replied, “If she wants to have her baby right here that’s up to her!”

I imagined my sweet friend in premature labor, alone in that filthy, heartless place.  I’m sure you can imagine that prison cells in under-developed countries cannot compare to the luxurious accommodations found in the likes of the United States.  My husband has a wonderful prison ministry here and has seen and heard many horror stories from the inside.  I’ll mercifully spare you the gory details, but there is one little tidbit I find particularly interesting.  It is literally a crime to kill anything from a flea, to a mosquito, to a rat in a Kenyan prison.  The wardens say these critters are part of the punishment, so the prisoners are not allowed to “ease their discomfort” (or spare themselves disease) by ridding themselves of even one!

Anyway, back to my friend.  The unfortunate way she incurred this debt was a couple weeks ago when her husband was involved in a terrible car accident.  Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.  They had insurance but recently their insurance provider (the same company we happen to use) closed down out of the blue and disappeared!  So not only are we all left uninsured, but they ran away with our money!  Consequently she took a loan to cover the expenses of the accident.

I realize $300 sounds like a ridiculous amount of money to lock a pregnant mother in prison over, and it is.  But you have to understand that $300 is about a whole month’s salary for millions of Kenyans. I’ve even known of Kenyans who committed suicide over smaller debts than this.

My husband and I obviously knew we had to do something, but we had exactly $5 to our name at the time.  As we brainstormed I was in constant contact with my friend, trying to encourage her, keep her calm, and build her faith.  It was a good exercise for me because I needed all those same things myself!  And God is so faithful.  Her captors finally released her in “good faith”, telling her if she didn’t pay in full by 9am the following morning she would be locked up without release until she paid every last shilling.

We decided the best we could do was pray and make the need known.  That’s just what we did, and literally seconds after getting our prayer request out people were volunteering to help!  I was completely blown away.  Within minutes the full amount was raised.  I was so full of joy, excitement, and thankfulness I could hardly contain myself!  It’s always so encouraging to me that even in these tough times people are still so compassionate and generous.  All glory and honor to God!

My friend who is 7 months pregnant and her one-year-old daughter

As soon as all the details were worked out and finalized I was out the door and off to that birth.  I practically ran through the muddy slum, thanking God and praying for the laboring mother, her baby, the TBA (Triditional Birth Attendant), and myself.  I reached the gate and almost collided with a little boy who was running out with 2 empty jericans for water.  I ducked inside and thought, “Thank Heaven for that little boy.  I bet his noisy running scared all the rats out of my path.” (=

I jogged up the flights of stairs, greeting neighbor women along the way.  Upon entering Mama Christine’s (the TBA) I saw a gorgeous woman lying on the couch.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve never seen a laboring woman who’s not breathtakingly beautiful.  Mama Christine needed to step out of the room for a moment.  As soon as she did, that pretty mama looked up at me and said, “Usiendi mbali!” (Don’t go far!)  I assured her I wasn’t going anywhere and sat next to her, again amazed at how birth can intimately join two complete strangers in one instant.  There’s nothing else like it!  As soon as her contraction started I realized she was having severe back labor.  I vigorously rubbed her back and when the contraction subsided I rushed to my birth bag to get some tennis balls, which seemed to help significantly.

Half an hour later a perfect, beautiful baby boy was born.
What a night….what a life. I am blessed beyond measure!

Our International Charis Family
Your stories from around the world touch us and we pray for your safety.
Thanks, Love and Blessings to every one of you!

'Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth,
 Among  them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and The one who labors with child,  together,
 A great throng shall return there...And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.'
 Jeremiah 31:8, 14~~~
©2011 Charis Childbirth Services, All Rights Reserved
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November 2011