On Life and Hope.
Reflecting on my first trip to Angola. By Heidi Cortez
Last week, we met with our team in Angola to talk about how we can better serve babies in the country. If you follow the work of Saving Moses you know that we provide specially formulated therapeutic milk to save the lives of babies suffering from severe malnutrition.
I travelled to Angola several years ago. I was full of anticipation as I knew what I would face- babies suffering and dying from malnutrition. Before I left on our trip, one of our board members who has been to Angola gave me great advice. She said, “While you are there, keep in mind that most of these babies will recover.”
I took those words with me on our trip. After our plane landed in the region, we immediately took a jeep to the malnutrition clinic. I felt my heart heavy in my chest as we approached. As we parked, I saw a mother come out of the clinic with tears in her eyes. She was followed by an older woman with cloth attached to her back. We got out of the car, and the women started unwrapping the cloth on this lady’s back. My heart sunk to my stomach. It was a baby, a precious little baby who had just died. There is nothing in the world that can prepare you to see something like this. This little one had so much life ahead of him, but they couldn’t get to him in time.
After this experience, I spent several more days in this clinic. And after witnessing such a horrible death, I saw hope. I saw life. I saw babies recovering. One little girl- graduated from the severe malnutrition unit and moved to the recovery unit. She was there with her grandma. In her recovery, she was full of so much life. At around one year old, she had so much personality. It was hard to imagine that a few weeks before we got there, she was struggling with severe malnutrition.
The reality of malnutrition is hard. It has the power to take away the most vulnerable. But there is hope. Hope comes in the form of nurses and healthcare workers tirelessly working to save these little ones. Hope comes in the form of therapeutic milk that if administered at the right time- will pull a baby from the brink of death. Hope comes in the form of people like you, who donate and fund these initiatives. Thank you for bringing hope. We are so grateful for you and your support.