Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Shift in Focus

For the past week, my body has been getting weaker and weaker. The hip pain from January's car accident has left me with one hip that will barely bear weight at all. The scar tissue in my lungs from my triple pulmonary embolism in 2009 is inflamed and makes breathing an incredibly painful struggle. This version of bed rest doesn't include the kind of sitting up time required for sewing, playing video games, or doing much of anything else.

I now face a choice: I can let the pain take me or I can fight it. I'm not the type to let something so negative win. I choose another path: I will fight.

But here's the thing, when you fight against your own pain, you must acknowledge that pain. You must accept it as it is and you must accept it's power over you. I refuse to let the pain become bigger than my will to overcome it.

Question: So how can I possibly fight?

Answer: By fighting on behalf of someone else.

Welcome to the village of Asiri, Ghana. 

Jasmine Staff is working on multiple projects with the Peace Corp in Asiri. This one in particular hit me hard. The risks I face are nothing compared to a typical delivery in Asiri. My situation is hard, but I have options. The hospital I visit a minimum of twice a week has a roof. It has windows. Doors. Electricity. I don't have to worry that they don't have sterile instruments or gloves there.

But THIS is what the only maternity clinic looks like in Asiri. It has never been finished because there simply isn't the money to do it. Instead of arriving at a clean, warm, safe place to deliver their children, the women of Asiri turn to Madame Bisa, their midwife. 

Madame Bisa (seen above, right) has been delivering the babies of Asiri for the past 20 years on the cement floor of her home. 

From Jasmine's website:

"Though this type of delivery has been going on here for as long as the village has been around and is common all over Ghana, there are many aspects of it that are potentially exceedingly damaging and life-threatening to both mother and child. Babies are often pulled out too roughly, causing life-long damage to the child’s body, and aren’t given to the mother to nurse upon delivery. Gloveless fingers inserted into the mother continuously during labour, between the midwife cooking food, caring for children and going about her daily life, readily create infection. Among countless other concerns, there is no testing for diseases, HIV or other STD’s" 


This is the fight I choose to take on. This is something I can help change. It's something you can help change, too. I have teamed up with Jasmine to organize a 30 day fundraiser to finish building and stocking this clinic. We are organizing donations and sponsors and will start the full fundraiser very soon.

For now, here's how you can help:

1. Donate! Click here to be taken to Jasmine's site where you will learn more about the clinic and the needs of the people of Asiri. You will also find a button there where you can make a donation through PayPal.

2. Raise funds your own way. Ask yourself what you can do to raise more money and awareness. Are you a graphic artist who could help design a logo for the project? Are you a blogger who could help spread the word? Do you have an etsy shop where you could donate 10% of one day's sales?

3. Join with us. Email me at to be added to our mailing list for notification when the 30 day fundraiser begins. Let us know if you want information regarding sponsoring the fundraiser, too. EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS!

Charity and Jasmine



  1. (hubby's account)WOW! I am posting this to my fb wall! What a worthy cause!

  2. This is a beautiful cause. Thank you for sharing. It's amazing what women have to work with in other countries, but we CAN do something to help!

  3. Exactly! That's the spirit, Jennifer!

  4. Sounds like an amazing charity! Reading this makes me count my blessings...

  5. I visited Ghana two summers ago and worked on some joint military medical missions. It was heart wrenching to see the poverty and lack of healthcare in this "developing" country.