by Sr. Rita Kelly MMM Ireland 11.04.2023
This week I had my first glimpse of primroses. As I watch Mother Nature exploding into new life, first the snowdrops, the daffodils, the buds on the trees gradually unfolding one can only give thanks to all of nature.
Earth is not only springing into life in this part of the world (the Northern Hemisphere) but Mother Nature is appearing to be active in Human Beings also. A friend was expecting her first baby on 1st May, a summer baby, as we all thought! Mother Nature has other thoughts. On 16th March the baby arrived, to everyone’s surprise.
On hearing of the premature birth, I remembered the number of babies I delivered in Ireland, Kenya and Goma, Congo. But one birth stands out in my mind, the premature birth to a Dutch couple in Turkana, Kenya.
Mark and Emma were volunteers from Holland, working for a Rehabilitation Programme set up in Turkana because of a severe famine which occurred in 1981-1984. They were assigned to a place called Kakuma, north-west of Turkana where I was working as a nurse/midwife. We, Medical Missionaries of Mary had a hospital and a Primary Health Care Programme. However, at that time there was no Doctor. Lay volunteers and Sisters were trying to cope with hundreds of people who were setting up feeding camps around the hospital. Turkana people are a nomadic people, and houses are temporarily built.
Mark and Emma were welcomed. One day Emma informed me that she was pregnant. I was delighted for her. But since it was her first baby, I had concerns about the delivery and any problems that may occur. We had only the basic facilitates, no doctor and no incubators. After some discussion we agreed that Emma would book into a Nairobi hospital and would leave with the Flying Doctors (AMREF) who visited the hospital, monthly, for elective surgery. A month before the due date of birth a place was booked on the plane for Emma. One night there was a tap on my bedroom window. It was Mark to say Emma had gone into labour. I went over to their wooden house and confirmed that Emma was in labour. Six weeks before expected date of baby!! Saying my prayers that all would be well, we were glad when Daan was born twelve hours later, crying. He was small but, thank God, all appeared to be well with both mother and baby. Daan was wrapped in tinfoil and carefully nursed until, a couple weeks later, Daan and his parents went for a well-earned rest and recovery to Nairobi.
They returned to Kakuma and Daan spent his first year of life in the desert. I met Daan many years later in Ireland. He came with his parents after his 21st birthday. It was amazing to look at this tall young man and remembering the story of his birth.
“If we truly love Nature, we will find beauty everywhere” Vincent Van Gogh.