A testimony by Joyce*
December 28, 2011, South Sudan—I have been disabled since birth and unable to walk. When I became pregnant, this was a big problem for me.
When I was about seven months along, someone from the local health center came to visit me and told me it would be too hard for me to have my baby at home. All my neighbors said the same thing, and I got worried and afraid I might die.
My mother told me about a group called UMCOR that is restoring the Primary Health Care Unit in Morsak, Yei, and the community of my village. I still couldn’t get to the clinic, though, because I can’t walk and my mother is too old to help me. Then, when I was eight months pregnant, Miss Muja, from the UMCOR health staff, came to visit me.
I told Miss Muja that I am poor, my husband left me, and my old mother has no money. Besides all that, we are very far from the town of Yei. Miss Muja listened calmly. She didn’t promise me anything at that time. I was so worried I almost lost hope, thinking I would die if I delivered my baby alone in the village.
One day in September, when I was already nine months pregnant, the head of the village came and told me that Miss Muja had come with her manager. I heard them discuss with the village head how they wanted to bring me to the hospital in Yei for surgery. I was very happy with the news.
Miss Muja came to pick me up and take me to the hospital on September 20. Because my mother and I have no money, UMCOR helped us cover the cost. I had the surgery and now I have my baby girl.
Then suddenly, after the surgery, the doctor went to my mother and explained that I needed a blood transfusion. I had no relatives who could donate the blood for me, and my mother and I began to lose hope and I thought again I might die.
But UMCOR took full responsibility and found a donor to give me the blood I needed. This is why today you can see me looking healthy and happy. I spent more than a week in the hospital, and then UMCOR brought me back to my village.
Miss Muja comes to visit me in my home. She is very nice and has helped me a lot. I pray God may bless her.
And I give thanks to God and to UMCOR, who helped me so much. It is now December, and you can see that my baby girl is healthy.
*Joyce is the young protagonist of this story. She is 18 years old and lives outside of the town of Yei in South Sudan.