A Tale of Two Babies
China is one of our Y’tesfa Birhan girls who lives just up the road. This week her mum had her fifth baby.
Both Beth and China’s mum worked through their pregnancies. Beth as a staff nurse at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, China’s mum selling a kind of pot pouri (containing fragments of stone, small pieces of wood and crushed incense sticks) that she mixes herself and decants into plastic bags. She sells them outside the large orthodox church near her home.
Both mums delivered their babies in hospital. Paul was there to offer Beth support, whereas China’s dad would simply expect to receive a call telling him the sex of the baby in line with the culture.
Each mum had a baby girl. Baby Jasmine and baby Arsema entered the world in very different places. Beth and Jasmine are getting to know each other in a clean, light and airy house with a comfortable bed and a Moses basket. Whilst Arsema and her mum are bonding in a corrugated iron and tarpaulin dwelling. They sit together on a mattress on the bare mud floor. China’s family are Ethiopian Orthodox so Arsema will probably remain in the dark for 40 days.
Beth has a stock of nappies and a selection of baby clothes at the ready for Jasmine. China’s mum doesn’t have the money for such luxuries. A few washable nappies will be passed on from Y’tesfa Birhan and maybe a hand-made plastic covering or two.
It has rained excessively recently. Water ran under the door of Rainbow class and across the floor into the next kindergarten room beyond. More of the Bingham boundary wall has given way, and this evening water drained from the surrounding land to a dip in the main ring road that skirts this part of town. The northbound carriageway filled with water. It was contained only by the concrete central reservation wall. As we passed on the damp southbound carriageway we saw various semi-submerged vehicles, including a hopefully abandoned blue and white taxi with water almost up to the roof.
Excessive rainfall can be devastating for people living in makeshift dwellings anywhere around city.
The UNICEF estimates that an average of 353,000 babies are born each day around the world. Jasmine and Arsema are just two precious little ones full of potential, but how much will their circumstances dictate their outcomes? Only time will tell.