In honor of Mother’s Day, we are shining the spotlight on the maternal health work our Volunteers are doing around the world. Here’s a success story from two Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania!
Two years ago, Volunteer Barbara Stallings started a prenatal education program for expectant mothers and health professionals in her community. After her close of service, it was handed over to Volunteer Jessica Goodell, who continued to develop and grow the program.
Barbara found that the concept of childbirth education was a very novel one in her Albanian community, with many cultural barriers, leading to nervous expectant mothers who were more likely to have complications.
To address this issue, Barbara helped facilitate a program that successfully trained one Albanian “Childbirth Educator” with a background in nursing and physical therapy to teach classes. Eleven expectant mothers and one father participated in the classes. The participation of the one father during class is a separate success story itself!
After taking over the project, Jessica worked with Albania’s Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health and her local Directorate of Public Health to organize a “Childbirth Educator Training of Trainers” to increase the number of “Childbirth Educators” who can transfer skills and expand the scope of educated expectant mothers. She applied for accreditation through the Ministry of Health and was approved to conduct the training, with seven professional credit hours to incentivize health professionals to participate.
A total of 20 health professionals (nurse-midwives, midwives, nurses, and social workers) were successfully trained. Now there are twenty-one “Childbirth Educators” prepared to teach a childbirth education class to expectant mothers in this community.
I came across this bridge that had locks in formed into the shape of a heart. I learned from the locals that when you fall in love you take your significant other to the bridge lock on a new lock and then throw the key into the river to signify never ending peace and love.
Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer Tondraya Burton, Ukraine
In this photo from Peace Corps Education Volunteer Alyssa Gaalema, family members pay homage to their departed loved ones with candles, singing and prayer on All Saints Night at the Grenada National Cemetery in St. Georges, the capital. Candlelight flowed down the hillside in a peaceful, incandescent glow.
I ate fried Mopane (Mopani) worms for the first time here in South Africa. Well, they are not actually worms, they’re caterpillars. So, I guess you can say that I’m officially an insectivore now. Mopani worms are a local delicacy especially for the Shangaan people. Sometimes they are fried and other times they are boiled. People eat them here like potato chips or popcorn. Eventually, if these creatures are allowed to grow, they will become a beautiful Emperor moth.
Si Said was a leather artisan with a business in the Marrakesh Souq and worked at the orphanage for boys handicapped with polio. He taught the boys how to make leather shoes and other leather projects and was committed to helping them find jobs so they could eventually support themselves. Si Said was a friend and co-worker who supported the Peace Corps mission and values.
I took this photo on July 20th, 2008, in Concepcion del Sur, Santa Barbara, Honduras. This date marks the Dia de Lempira in Honduras, when the nation celebrates their cultural history and honors Chief Lempira, a Lencan warrior who unified hundreds of Honduran tribes in opposition against the Spanish conquerors. Many towns celebrate by holding a Day of Culture, where traditional food and dance are on display. This picture depicts a competition where school children used materials of local significance to make elaborate costumes. This girl is wearing naturally dyed corn husk jewelry, and carries a basket of a local variety of banana.
As a Volunteer I felt a need to provide business to the street vendor, and I needed a haircut. I looked at the BOENG 707 and the PARLIAMENT, but I have straight hair, so I opted for the MODELLE CURRENCY. It became clear that he had never cut a white guy’s hair. It didn’t work out too well. But, African style, we dealt with it both cordially and with a sense of humor.