LAOS: Bringing Babies Home

LAOS: Bringing Babies Home

DSC03105One of the most exciting day in any parent’s life is the day we get to bring our baby home. I was ecstatic to bring our two twin babies home, and very scared too about being left on my own to care for them. But it was indeed one of the most exciting days of my life.

On a recent work trip down to Salavan Province in southern Laos, I got to see two beautiful healthy babies on their way home from a district hospital with their parents. I don’t know who was more excited, them or me! To witness that special moment really touched me because of the volunteer work that I’ve been doing with to help expectant mothers and newborn babies get a safe start in life by providing “clean birth kits” to women in rural Laos who would otherwise give birth unattended at home or in the forest using often unsanitary tools that can cause infection leading to death of the mother or child.

For me to know the long and difficult road that these two mothers have taken to give birth safely made the miracle of birth all the more awesome to me. To know that unless they traveled all way to a provincial hospital, they most likely did not get any prenatal check ups, or vitamin supplements, or ultrasounds. Although the standard of care that we consider basic are indeed accessible and cost relatively little because they are subsidized by the government, they are only available in large urban centers. This means that the 70% of the Lao population who live in rural areas either require a lot of resources to receive this care, or get none at all. Many factors contribute to the inaccessibility of the care expectant mothers need including, geographic remoteness, lack of infrastructure and seasonal limitations for travel on rough roads, lack of transport or money to pay, little knowledge of the health requirements of prenatal care or services available, as well as family priorities of working for subsistence living and other household responsibilities, and many others. (more…)

Dee Harlow (Laos)

One of Dee’s earliest memories was flying on a trans-Pacific flight from her birthplace in Bangkok, Thailand, to the United States when she was six years old. Ever since then, it has always felt natural for her to criss-cross the globe. So after growing up in the northeast of the US, her life, her work and her curiosity have taken her to over 32 countries. And it was in the 30th country while serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan that she met her husband. Together they embarked on a career in international humanitarian aid working in refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan, and the tsunami torn coast of Aceh, Indonesia. Dee is now a full-time mother of three-year old twins and continues to criss-cross the globe every two years with her husband who is in the US Foreign Service. They currently live in Vientiane, Laos, and are loving it! You can read about their adventures at Wanderlustress.

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PHILIPPINES: A Birthday Wish for My Children

I can sI’ll be celebrating my birthday very soon but to be perfectly honest with you, I’m not so worked up about it. Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m the type of person who deems occasions like these special, but when it’s focused on me, I’m not so particular about being pampered or getting what I want. That’s just me. I’ve been this way for a long time, I think.

Now that I’m a mom of three precious God-given blessings though, I find myself making wishes and sending out prayers in anticipation of my birthday — not for me, but for my children. (But please, don’t be fooled into thinking that I’m so selfless that way, because really, I’m not! *winks*)

So what exactly is my birthday wish for my children?

Nothing fancy really. But I’m sure most, if not all, the moms out there would agree with me on at least one of the “components” of my wish.

On my birthday, I wish…

…that my children will grow up to know, love and serve God.

…that in knowing, loving and serving God, my children will learn to love and serve others.

…that my children will discover what they’re truly meant to do in this world, and that my husband and I will be able to help them discover it. (more…)

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (Philippines)

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez is a wife and homeschool mom by vocation, a licensed physical therapist by education and currently the managing editor of Mustard, a Catholic children's magazine published by Shepherd's Voice Publications in the Philippines, by profession. She has been writing passionately since her primary school years in Brunei, and contributes regularly to several Philippine and foreign-based online and print publications. She also does sideline editing and scriptwriting jobs, when she has the time. Find out more about Tina through her personal blogs: Truly Rich Mom and Teacher Mama Tina.

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INDONESIA: A Letter to Twenty-Year-Old Me

INDONESIA: A Letter to Twenty-Year-Old Me

wmb- ana gabyDear Ana Gaby,

Let me cut to the chase, you are in the verge of turning 30 years old, you live in South East Asia, you are married (yes, you who said that you wouldn’t even date until you were 30), you are a mother of two. Thirty, it is not as bad as it sounds, trust me. You might be wondering what ever happened to your ambitions of becoming a human rights lawyer and working at an international organization. As you may have noticed by now things did not turn out the way you expected. Your plans to travel the world, finish at least one Masters degree and not even consider getting married until you had moved into your own place did not get fulfilled.

Don’t worry. You get to study abroad, to live on your own and work in those places you always dreamed of working at. You don’t spend as much time working there as you had hoped for but you get a taste of the international organization realm and realize that you picked the right major. You meet people from all over the world and form friendships that last despite time and distance.

Along the way you meet a man who changes your life completely. Your priorities, perspective and your dreams shift from solo mode to “I wouldn’t do this without my partner in crime” mode and you find that it’s ok to let yourself literally fall in love. (more…)

Ana Gaby

Ana Gaby is a Mexican by birth and soul, American by heart and passport and Indonesian by Residence Permit. After living, studying and working overseas, she met the love of her life and endeavored in the adventure of a lifetime: country-hopping every three years for her husband’s job. When she's not chasing her two little boys around she volunteers at several associations doing charity work in Indonesia and documents their adventures and misadventures in South East Asia at Stumble Abroad.

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