Hello friends! as you may already know or have guessed I am no longer in beautiful India, but rather I am writing this from Perth. As COVID-19 progressed into a pandemic the future of our outreach and school changed daily, so I have waited a little while to give the update so I can be fairly sure that my plans are now solid.
so much changed but I will give you a run-down of what turned out to be our final few weeks in India:( We continued to work in the hospitals as usual, building relationships with women and getting to love on them through all sorts of situations. Every day on the ward is so varied. One day we will be going around the postnatal wards, making friends and educating the mothers on how to care for themselves and their babies postnatally. The next can be spent with a mother in early labour educating her on birth exercises and doing squats to Justin Bieber. Yet another involved staying with one muslim woman as she found out that she had lost her baby, holding her hand, crying with her, speaking value over her and her baby and giving her a baby hat as a promise of new life to come. Yet another day I got dragged into a room by a friendly midwife right as a delivery was happening and supported the mother through contractions and distracted her with small talk while getting stitches. I just love being there through it all. The ups and the downs, the exciting and the mundane. All these women are so precious and getting to be just a small part of their story is an incredible honour.
One day me and a few others visited a slum area that the school had connections with in the past. It had recently been built up into flat blocks by the government. Our trip there consisted of seeing people wave at us from their windows and then me shouting up and asking if we could come and visit them. This worked surprisingly well and we managed to visit a young muslim girl and shared the gospel with her and we also somehow found the only Christians in the complex and joined her and some of her friends for a prayer meeting.
On our final day in India we visited the government hospital that we had been unable to work in. We had medical supplies that we wanted to donate and they let us go into the postnatal ward to give out hats. It was so fun, although it did make me a little sad that we hadn’t been able to be there more as there was so much need. Right before we left we handed a hat to a particular mother holding her less than a day-old baby. She said ‘last time you delivered my baby you gave me a hat then too’. One of the leaders came to question her further and traced her back to a particular student that helped her when she had a stillbirth in 2011. This woman remembered everything- the students name, that she had prayed for her, that she had stayed with her, that she showed so much compassion. The student then prayed that God would give her another baby and gifted her a hat. This mother had held onto that promise for 9 years. That very day she had delivered the baby that had been prayed for. God’s timing is just so impeccable. We often don’t get to see the impact of our prayers but that day we got a small glimpse into the inheritance that comes from sewing into the nations.
In mid-march the decision was made that our trip to Bangladesh would not be able to go ahead. We were supposed to have two months there, working at a missions hospital. We were all really looking forward to this as there was lots of opportunity for us to get more practical and hands-on experience, especially as we had been lacking this to some extent when working in India. However the cities are very densely populated and it would have not been wise to visit as this time.
Our plans were then very much in the air as to the possibility of staying in India or returning to Perth. It soon became clear however that with increased lockdown measures that we needed to return home and the decision was made to ‘postpone the school indefinitely’.
Unbeknown to us we landed back in Perth one day before the borders closed to any non-residents which was such perfect timing! The 14 of us on the team, including staff and students had to quarantine by law for 14 days upon return to the country. We rented an Airbnb which we were not allowed to leave, however we had a good garden space with a pool, so life wasn’t all bad! Food was brought to us and we were able to cook for ourselves and just spend time together before everyone was to return to their homes. These final 2 weeks together turned out to be a real blessing as we got to debrief our past 9 months together and look to the future, including how to renter back home to a pandemic!! we had many film nights and took time to just enjoy one another.
Most travelled home the day we were released from our house arrest, but a few of us have later flights and so are staying around for a little longer. Flights to Europe are a little harder currently due to layovers but I do have a flight home booked for THIS SATURDAY the 11th of April! wild. I am travelling with a fellow brit and then we will complete another 2-week quarantine near her home in oxford. My 20th birthday will be during this 14 days but at least I will not be alone! After this I will be back in stourbridge- although I may not be seeing any of you for a little while it will be good to be back on home turf and in the same time zone.
This last week in Perth have been really nice. Things are still more relaxed in Australia so I have been making up for being cooped up in one house for 14 days by going on many walks with friends (keeping 1.5m away of course) and just taking some time to rest.
I realise this has been a bit of an information overload but at least now we’re all caught up and I may or may not be able to see of of you again soon…ish…
Finally I have accepted a place to study midwifery at Kings College London so all being well this will work out and is what I’ll be doing from September. I am really going to miss this place and the community I have here but I’m so excited for further training in this area and be back in the uk for some time.
A massive THANK YOU to all of you who have stuck with me over these past 15 months. It has been such a crazy journey and the support from everyone has made all the difference. I love you all- can’t wait to share more in person when I can.
Signing out for now… but maybe not forever!
Stay safe. Stay home. Stay sane.