A Tale of Two Babies

JasmineThis week I became a grandma again for the fourth time. Beth had her first baby over in Scotland.

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.

ArsemaEach 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.

The other carriageway is completely submerged...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.


Congratulations on the new grandchild

Thanks Alan. We'll be visiting in a couple of weeks to admire her. Maybe we'll also talk to her parents...

Every birth is nerve wracking for the grandparents, welcome safely to Jasmine (and Arsema) their lives may be different, but they will both be much loved.  So glad you will get to see Jasmine and Beth so quickly, take lots of photos!

So lovely that you are grandparents again and that I am a great aunt again ( I don't like that title - makes me feel ancient!) 

Such a thought provoking piece of writing. Today I asked the children at church what they would change in the world if they could.  One little girl said that she would want to make everything equal for everyone - the 2 situations you so eloquently described made me think of that.  

God bless you both as you do what you can to help change things for the people you meet

Love and God bless

Lizzy xx

Wow what great contrasts mum. Gives me a lot to think about as I stare down at Jasmine.

 We have a seen a photo of Jasmine but I guess we will not see China's sister in the same way . Prayers for both babies. Congratulations Phil 'n Chris xx

What precious babies. Despite their circumstances equal in God's eyes.xx

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