In 2009 we met Janet, a 25 year old Maasai woman from Ol Doinyo Sambu, Tanzania who was over nine months pregnant with her third child. She had made the five mile walk to the nearest clinic, hoping to deliver there. The clinic had no electricity, no extra blood supply, and no operating room. Not having had anything to eat or drink, the nurse was concerned that she wouldn't have the strength to deliver the baby. After spending a full day and night at the clinic without her labor progressing the nurse had no choice but to send Janet on the long walk back home. The clinic only had four beds, and they had to make space for new patients.
After a long day at home without any food, Janet's labor intensified, and in desperation she set off for the clinic again. Her baby had not descended, but Janet was in excruciating pain. The clinic - which had one midwife, one nurse, and only occasionally a doctor - was not equipped to deal with Janet's high risk pregnancy, and she was told she must go to the hospital. Worried for the lives of both Janet and her baby, the nurse asked us for help to get Janet to the hospital. A van to the nearest hospital would take an hour and cost thirty dollars -- more than Janet's family takes home in a month. We arranged for a van to get her to the hospital. When she arrived Janet was dehydrated and exhausted, and doctors induced labor. Three days and many miles later, Janet left with a healthy baby boy, Furaha.
The day after giving birth Janet told us, "If God blesses me I would like my children to have an education, because yesterday my life was saved by education. If they were uneducated, they would not have been able to save me."
Today Janet is healthy and living with her children in Ol Doinyo Sambu.