They call her Joy but there was nothing joyful about her situation. At the dawn of each new day, her burden became bigger than it was twenty hours ago. As her baby bump grew to the admiration of friends and family, something died inside her. This wasn’t a result of being too young or naive, but life had dealt her a terrible card.
She was in the third trimester of her pregnancy where everything should have been in place for her new baby, but her life seemed to be spiralling out of control. Her husband died when she was still in the first trimester, leaving her with two cute little toddlers who were being wasted by malnutrition. Her late husband, an unskilled labourer, was the sole breadwinner before he died. Joy had no skills and no means of livelihood as she had focused on raising her children. Her family was too poor to offer any meaningful help. She was too weak and anaemic to even think clearly, without money or hope of finding any. With time people suggested that she should sell the child as soon as it was born. She was strongly tempted to go against her conscience and accept the suggestions.
One Tuesday morning with the sun blazing in its full glory, scorching the road and everything else within sight, Joy was walking past the local health centre, trudging along with heavy steps. A nurse on duty Miss Amaka took one look at Joy and with the eyes of a trained nurse immediately perceived that Joy was fatigued, malnourished, anaemic and emotionally troubled. Amaka invited her into the health centre away from the heat of the sun to get some rest and to understand her situation. Joy broke down and cried as she narrated her situation. In addition to her ordeal, she was not getting antenatal care because she could not afford the payment. Amaka calmed her down and informed her that the health centre had just started providing free antenatal care.
In addition to the examinations and medications, she would also receive a stipend to buy food items that help prevent anaemia. At the time of delivery, she would also be delivered using a complete pack of sterile supplies free of charge. All of these were made possible by GEANCO Foundation. Joy was dumbfounded. She cried all over again, but this time she shed tears of joy. She saw her encounter with Amaka as a divine appointment. That encounter was the dawn of hope for her. She was immediately enrolled on the free antenatal clinic.
Just when Joy thought that her life was about to get easier she received another shock. At one of her antenatal visits, the nurse discovered that Joy was pregnant with twins. Nurturing one infant with her two toddlers was going to be a herculean task for her but to have two infants was beyond her imagination.
It took Joy some weeks to digest the news and accept the reality that she was having twins. For Joy, the popular question after the free antenatal care and safe delivery (courtesy of GEANCO) was, “what would become of her and the four kids especially the infants”. For Nurse Amaka, the question was, “How do you say goodbye to Joy when she is discharged after delivery, knowing that she would step into a bleak future? How do you give a frozen smile to Joy but your heart is bleeding for her?”
At this point, Amaka reached out to share her burden for Joy with the staff of GEANCO, who introduced Amaka and Joy to Legions of Hope. With the intervention of Legions, Joy sees the dawn that started with the intervention of GEANCO grow from streaks of light to a bright morning. Legions provided her with counselling, emotional support and the promise to help her navigate the storms ahead.
Finally, the babies arrived, two beautiful girls. Of course, they were accompanied by many other challenges. Life has not been easy on the family especially the new babies, having to live in a small room that could only pass for a pen except that it had a roof; intense heat due to poor ventilation; exposure to mosquito bites; sleeping on the floor on mats with such tender skin.
Despite her situation, the joy in Joy refused to die as she felt comforted, alive again and hopeful. Legions of Hope came through for her, offering emotional and financial support after her delivery; this was the point where everything good pulled up for Joy. The rest of the story can be read from her face evidenced by the never quitting smiles she beams with while proudly showing off her “bundles of joy” – The twins.
Our goal is to pay two years rent for a decent and safe room for them, provide supplies for the children, and pay for Joy to acquire an income-generating skill so she can earn income and have a pathway to provide for her children.
Join us to make a difference in the lives of the underserved like Joy. If not now, when? If not you, who? With your support, we will ferry lives across the sea of human adversity, one person at a time.