Service Recap: May 12

Mother’s Day from African Soul, American Heart

Angie Ostbey joined us for Mother’s Day to share her experiences following midwives in the Duk Payuel in the Republic of South Sudan through the organization African Soul, American Heart.  African Soul, American Heart works to protect, educate, and empower the girls of South Sudan.

Through Angie’s service we got a glimpse into the way of life the girls of South Sudan are forced to follow and the roles they are expected to fill. She also shared one of her stories with us about experiencing a woman giving birth and the conditions in which the birth happened.

The girls often have very bleak futures to look forward to. They are allowed to attend school along with the boys. Unfortunately this often times means that the girls go without eating for the day. Due to the severe poverty in which these tribes live they can usually only have enough food to prepare one meal a day. If that meal is prepared and served while the girls are at school, then they go without eating for that day.

For the girls who are fortunate enough to attend school, they usually do not make it past the time that they reach puberty. Due to the embarrassment they endure from the changing of their bodies and not having the supplies to take care of themselves, they drop out of school to begin a hard life of work. Oftentimes they are married off to another member of the tribe for a dowry to become the caretaker in his life. The women are the ones responsible for the cooking, the upbringing of the children, and for maintaining the hut.

Even the act of childbirth is a process in which the conditions are unimaginable. Most women are forced to give birth in their mud huts with no medical assistance or sanitary conditions. A few women are lucky enough to make it to a clinic to give birth, but even if they do they must walk to the clinic on their own. The clinic itself is nothing more than a pole shed with a few rooms that have been sectioned off.  Staff is very small and supplies are extremely limited. But even with the few supplies and slightly better conditions there is a much better chance of successful childbirths when they are at the clinic.

Many of the stories of these women and the hard lives they endure are heartbreaking and it’s hard to imagine what it is like to survive in such conditions. For even if we find ourselves on the edge of having nothing, we still have the opportunity and resources available to easily make changes to help ourselves to survive where they do not.

Please take some time to visit African Soul, American Heart at and learn how you can help make a difference in the lives of these girls and help them to get an education so that they can develop into an invaluable resource for their families and tribes.

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