Recently a group of mothers in Namibia gathered with their babies to participate in HHI’s first ever training in their country, all thanks to a young woman who was determined to make it happen.
Geri is from HHI’s hometown of Portland, OR, but she’s been living and working as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Namibia for the last year plus. She speaks the language, offers support, training and friendship to all of her new community. And not too long ago, she made reached out to Hands to Hearts and made a bold request, “please bring HHI to the families of my community.”
This is not how HHI normally works. It was outside our box. HHI’s protocol is that HHI is always led via locals, for locals, in collaboration with a community or national organization. But… we were intrigued and inspired. HHI is not meant to be available for a few, no baby comes with an instruction manual, and Geri was living in this community, trusted by this community. We couldn’t say “no”, so we said “yes!”.
And so begins the story of HHI going to Biro, Namibia. Geri spent months on Skype calls with HHI’s staff, read all of our materials and worked hard to gain a deep understanding of not only our information, but our way of training. And last month it all came to life! The mommies of Biro gathered together outside of the health clinic, they learned from each other and from HHI about early childhood development and all sorts of different ways to better their babies health and brain development.
The moms really liked learning about general health issues and about the behavior and cues that babies make to communicate before they can speak. Baby cues is a favorite lesson in HHI, it helps caregivers gain a greater insight into what their baby needs and thereby enables them to better respond, making life easier and happier for everyone. During the training the women enjoyed sharing new recipes and in a short time they quickly saw the children had more energy to get up, play and interact with people. This in-turn led the mothers to interact more with their children as they now felt they understood the reasons behind why the children act a certain way, they felt more confident in getting more involved in what their child was doing.
Geri reported that the moms liked HHI’s training so much that they have now begun a weekly mother’s club to where they can discuss various child health topics and early childhood development.
Bravo Mommas! And thank you Geri!