Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time to Meet Hawa and Edna

I want quite simply to introduce you to two extraordinary women who were introduced to me by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist a little more than a year ago. Christmas 2010 was approaching, and I was trying to find organizations to support in place of giving Christmas presents within the family.

Nicholas Kristof made my first two choices very easy. On December 18, his column had the title, Gifts of Hope and in it he presented ten organizations who deserved support but who were probably unknown to most NYT readers. One of the ten was the Edna Hospital in Somaliland in northern Somalia. Three days earlier his column had focused on another hospital in Somalia, which I will refer to here for convenience as Hawa Hospital.

Edna is the first name of Nurse Edna Adan, whom you see in the first picture with Birgitta from France. Edna is the founder of Edna Hospital, a maternity hospital, filling in part the needs of mothers to be in a country with among the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. 

Hawa is the first name of Ob/Gyn Doctor Hawa Abdi whom you see in the center of the second picture flanked by her daughters Amina and Deqa, who are also physicians.
You can easily find stories in the Times about these two extraordinary women and their hospitals and just as easily find the links making it easy for you to contribute, should you wish to do so.

The goal of this post is quite simply to suggest that it makes it easier to give if you find personal reasons for doing so. My first reason for selecting these two women and their hospitals and in addition Doctors Without Borders is that they all meet the most absolutely critical needs in one of the countries of the Horn of Africa. 

My second reason for selecting these three is that I have close friends and acquaintances from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea which make up the Horn. My friends from Eritrea (one doctor and two nurses all sisters) led me me 8 years ago to Doctors Without Borders. Then as I became acquainted with more and more Ethiopians and Somalis and developed friendships with them and learned about the severe need for support for mothers to be and for their babies, I was programmed to respond to Nicholas Kristof's recommendations concerning Edna and Hawa. And, strange as it may seem, here in Linköping, Sweden, at the Red Cross I have found women related to Hawa or who know her.

You can see one of my Eritrean friends and two of my Somali friends in another post in this blog. I leave it to you enjoy the task of trying to identify which is which. Send me an Email if you want to engage in the identification game.

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