I created a blog so that I could document this adventure- I like nothing more than to chronicle big events in my life and blogging is one of my most favorite ways to do it. I did this with the Malawi Project, my first foray into assisting mothers in Africa and it was really rewarding.
So what is this Shanti, and how did I end up here? The story is interesting if you're open minded, and fanciful if you're not- a win either way, if you ask me.
I have Dreams where I get a lot of information. Not generally about future events, but just about my life, or someone else's life, usually. Because my Dreams are so informational one of the things I've learned to do in my Dream is pick one thing and repeat it to myself over and over and over so that I'll remember it when I wake up. It could be, "Tree, tree, remember the tree!" My Dreaming self thinks that if I can remember that tree, it will trigger me remembering the rest of the Dream- well, I usually only ever remember the damned tree.
About a week ago I had a Dream where two women are telling me their names over and over- Megan, Shanti! Megan, Shanti! I thought I'd best remember their names, and I did. Two days later a video went across Facebook about Shanti the elephant which piqued my interest. I know that I need to just keep an open mind and heart when Dream information is on deck so I watched the sweet video of the elephant that loved to play music, but not yet seeing any relevance.
Two days ago, Jane, a midwife I know, posted about going back to Uganda where she'd been a little more than a year ago, assisting at a clinic there with her daughter. The clinic? Shanti.
I told her a little about my dream and she said, "You should come!" Normally when someone invites me to somewhere as far away/expensive/seemingly impossible as *Africa*, I feel how impossible it is and I don't generally entertain it. But this time I joked that I couldn't just decide to go to Africa in one day. Jane responded, "Why not?" And I thought- I've Dreamed of Shanti, this is something I need to pursue.
As I thought through it, the only obstacles I could see were my husband's opinion on this whole insane idea, and money. Money can be raised- so can Husband be convinced? ;)
Fortunately he is a man who is used to being married to a crazy wife like me and I think he senses when something is important to me and weighs it a little more heavily than some of my more randomly hatched plans. He took in what I had to say and said, "Well, let's work on raising the money and if something happens that you can't go, we'll just donate it to Shanti." YES!
So off I go- I'm working now to encourage Stephanie to join me on this adventure- my Sister in Crime! I know that going on this trip will change me and I can't wait to go. We'll be working on the ground offering soft-skills/doula training to the midwives working at Shanti - who are skilled providers but whose training was quite patriarchal and hierarchal. Shanti endeavors to provide women-centered care and while many great things are in place, they've asked us to come and help them do some fine tuning.
On top of getting to go to Africa, to a birthing clinic, I actually get to assist my colleagues in offering doula training to midwives! I might just burst- I can't think of a more perfect trip! We will be doing much more than that- drilling for emergencies, sharing knowledge about maternity and postpartum care, breastfeeding training, hopefully attending a birth or two if they happen while we're there, and I imagine, laughing, learning and loving.
I hope you'll subscribe to the blog so that Stephanie and I can keep you updated about our progress as we endeavor to raise funds, get passports, vaccinations, visas, settle our nerves, not freak out, and process everything we experience.