Originally Posted at GoFundMe
This is Tutu.
Tutu is 49 years old. She is a Zambian. A Wife. A Mother of 4.
A woman who smiles for everything but cameras.
Over the past 10 years, she’s delivered hundreds of babies.
(She lost count after 130).
She works the night shift in a free clinic in a very low income part of Zambia’s capital. From 7 PM-7:30AM, she and one other midwife occupy the labor ward and wait.
The clinic loses power and water for a few hours every night. They deliver infants by candlelight and one solar powered flashlight. After each delivery, they clean the examination table with water and detergent, which they prepare in buckets in anticipation of the water shortage.
Last night (1/14/16), Tutu delivered 5 babies. Two of them from a woman who was carrying breech twins.
(For those of you who are unfamiliar with the risks of such a situation, most times, American physicians would elect to deliver even one breech baby by C-section).
In sum, Tutu is skilled and kind and wonderful.
I’ve spent the last week working with her, and I can tell you definitively: She is wonderful.
But she has not been feeling wonderfully.
She has been getting headaches. Headaches which blur her vision. Headaches which cause her to wake up with tears in her eyes.
4 months ago, she was told by a physician that she definitely needs an MRI.
So, she went to get an MRI.
But an MRI in Zambia is $500… Tutu doesn’t have $500.
So her headaches have been getting worse.
I asked her if she has told her kids: “I have, but not with details. They also don’t have the money.”
I asked her what she has been doing over the last 4 months: “Praying. I pray to G-d. What else can I do?”
But there is something we can do.
We can help Tutu help hundreds of new mothers.
With $600, we can fund both her MRI and the cost of some of her pain medication.
I’m giving $50 (#studentlife). So really, that cuts it down to $550.
Which, if you think about it, is the cost of 36 movie tickets. Or 72 drinks at a bar.
That means 36 people spending one night watching TV instead of going to the movies. 36 people going out with their friends and, instead of drinking 2 shots, donating that money to Tutu.
(It’s going to be a good night anyway. And you’ll feel better in the morning).
We can help an amazing woman get the medical care that she deserves.
I want to give her this money before I leave Zambia on January 25th.
That gives us 10 days.
And I know that you’ve never met this woman. You may have never even met me. And donating money to a cause you can’t see is a leap.
But she’s been praying to G-d.
Let’s be G-d’s messengers and give her some answer.
To everyone who donated and continues donating towww.gofundme.com/
I’m now waiting for Tutu to pick me up. We’re heading to the hospital to take her MRI. Yesterday, we went to her home and met her children: John, Mercy, Shama, and Adonai.
Her husband wrote this letter to all of you:
“To Rachael and her Friends,
We are grateful for the help rendered to Tutu E. Phiri, by donating 5000 Kwacha for the MRI Exam.
Once again, on behalf of my entire family, I am very grateful.
May the Good Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth richly bless you.
Husband to TuTu”
Hi All! Thank you so much for donating!
Thanks to you, we reached beyond our goal! Here’s what was done with the money:
1) Tutu had her MRI. The results returned negative, meaning that her headaches have not been caused by a tumor like we thought. Which is amazingly good news. We’re going to continue trying to pinpoint the source of her headaches, but Tutu (and her family) is entirely relieved and able to sleep so much better thanks to each of you.
2) The extra money has already been used to buy 2 lanterns for the maternity ward (because they only had one flashlight and candles before). The rest of it is being used to buy cord clamps, more lanterns, blood pressure cuffs, and a few more items still to be determined.
Thank you for making a difference in the world.
Thank you all.
Photography by Rochel Spangenthal