Goma health authorities are supportive, feeling it necessary to find an adequate solution to risks faced by the newborn and mothers in the extreme wartime conditions of Nord Kivu Province.
Doctor Chrisogone completed his presentation, and what happened next was powerful and riveting. In response to a question from Thomas and myself: "What do the midwives want to say?" there was perhaps a minute of uncomfortable silence. Then, one after the other, in strong sure voices and demeanor, the midwives approached the head of the classroom and spoke to us through Omer.
There was no laughter this time. No smiling. Faces remained strong, but eyes welled up as the tales mounted and mounted until he listener felt that there was no way the stories could get worse, but they did. You could hear the murmurs of discontent while your head felt like it might explode from information that assaulted rational thought.
The dream of the midwives is simple by American standards. A ten-bed clinic with the supplies and capacity to deliver seven to ten babies a day. The pricetag? $112,000--the cost of ten good quality AK-47 assault rifles.