Thirty-nine year old Koumba is a woman who brings life wherever she goes. She has been a midwife in a remote village in southern Guinea for the past 16 years, and considers what she does “blessing work”.
“I don’t really make any money, but I’m given a better gift: I help mothers give birth. When I see a mother holding her healthy baby, it’s a very big blessing for me” she says.
Through her midwifery clinic she estimates she’s helped to deliver over 100 babies in her village, but the goitre growing in her neck for the last five years has made it hard to continue. She started to lose mobility, and it was getting harder to breathe and speak.
Koumba’s husband told her to trust in God that everything would be ok. She tried to stay positive, but it was hard – the growing goitre slowly ate away at her joy. When she heard that the Africa Mercy was docked in Conakry, Guinea, she knew this was her chance to get help – so she could continue helping others.
Thanks to generous volunteers and partners, Koubma received free surgery that removed her goitre! When she was discharged from the hospital ward, there was dancing and celebration – and a heartfelt “thank you” speech to everyone within earshot. Her joy and gratitude for free surgery seemed to spill out across the hospital wards, brightening everything and everyone around her.
“This surgery has brought me so much happiness. I can move without pain now!”
Once the dust settles around her big return, Koumba’s looking forward to picking right back up with her calling: bringing new life into the world.
“When I go back to the village, I’ll be able to work more than before… I gave help, and I received help. This is happiness.”
Midwives like Koubma are vital for communities in developing nations. Helping women like her has a significant impact that lasts long after the Africa Mercy departs, and touches communities far beyond where the ship is docked.
Written By: Andrea Gilbert