World Vision Emergencies
article • Tuesday, March 24th 2015

Hospitable family in Central African Republic welcomes its 21st member

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New dad Rodrigues with his baby girl and wife, Marina

The maternity ward in Ndjoh looks deserted. There is only one family here with a mother who has just given birth to a baby girl.

Without a mattress, a thin mat cushions her and her baby from the hard metal strips across the bed. 

Esther Yambokia, the midwife who helped the mum, Marina, deliver says the hospital was looted at the peak of the Central African Republic crisis.

The baby has no name yet. In her innocence she remains oblivious to the months her family spent hiding in a forest to save their lives.

The labour room has only one bed.

In the corner is a table with a pan, a pair of gloves and a basic listening piece, which was used to hear the baby’s heartbeat before she was delivered into this country that has suffered such horrendous ethno-religious clashes.

The baby has no name yet. In her innocence she remains oblivious to the months her family spent hiding in a forest to save their lives.

In the forest her father, Rodrigues, made friends with a stranger who had walked around 200 kilometres to find safety.

When it was time for Rodrigues and his family to head home they invited their new friend, Andre, along with his family of 13, to join them.

The newborn baby girl will leave hospital and become the 21st member of her newly extended family.

The newborn baby girl will leave hospital and become the 21st member of her newly extended family.

Rodrigues’ hospitality is mirrored by many others in his community, who have taken in families who have had to flee their homes.

Host families are sharing the little they have with their long-term guests, and facilities in villages are being stretched to their limits.

World Vision, working with the Office for Foreign Disaster Aid, has fixed two boreholes in Marina and Rodrigues’ community, but the water coming through has started to become discoloured.

John Waswa, a manager of World Vision’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project explains that the water changes colour because the boreholes are serving many more people than usual, and that new toilets which have been constructed are under similar pressure.

Andre says he and his family will never be able to go back to their village and instead hope to find land here, in this community that has welcomed and hosted them in their time of need.

Host families are sharing the little they have with their long-term guests, and facilities in villages are being stretched to their limits.

For now though they are dependent on the cassava that Rodrigues grows in his garden, as well as on his earnings from making and selling a traditional brew.

World Vision has helped fix 62 boreholes and constructed toilets near social amenities, such as schools and hospitals, which will serve 32,000 people.

Our teams are distributing survival kits containing buckets, soap, cooking utensils, pots, blankets, detergents, tarpaulin, ropes and sanitary pads for women.

We're helping to ease the pressure felt by families like Rodrigues and Andres’ but the needs remain huge.

You can help to support this important work here.

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