It’s somewhere around Day 54,386 of Single Daddin’ It, the highlight of my year when it’s just me and the kids.
Is it November still? I think it snowed yesterday. Pretty sure about that. Somewhat sure. Okay maybe it rained.
I think Jean called yesterday too. She’s my wife. My Bride. We started dating when you had to take out a mortgage to phone overseas. She was in Yemen at the time. I wasn’t. This, I know.
Now calls are cheaper. So she phoned last night.
I guess I’m in Uganda now. And I think we have three kids. Pretty sure. Okay, maybe four. No, that fourth one looks a bit furry, like a dog. But really, when Jean called, it all came back to me.
Yes, I’m here on the other side of the ocean with the three kids who were all happy to hear their Mom call. Even if she interrupted the chocolate fondue and camp fire in the living room.
Of course we were especially happy to hear her share news on the great success of the 2013 Hamilton Gallery of Distinction gala.
My Bride, if you hadn’t heard this before, is a 2013 inductee into this prestigious Hamilton civic honor roll for her ongoing work trying to help East African women who suffer and die in childbirth.
Faithful Reader will remember I posted something about this and the light of it all here some time ago.
This week, on Wednesday evening, the event unfolded. Jean could actually be in Hamilton and so we are all incredibly proud of Mom and her Save the Mothers team in both Canada and Uganda (and, increasingly, the USA.)
Jean was especially thrilled to have her parents and other family in attendance as well as several colleagues from McMaster University and St. Joe’s Hospital.
Give her a congrats on her Facebook page here.
And, in this Hamilton Spectator piece, read more about some of the other shining lights from the great city of Hamilton.
The Spectator, by the way, is the finest newspapr I have ever seen. Anywhere. In any country. And I’m not saying this just because it has now linked directly into The Daily Dad.
Go to www.thespec.com and look under Staff Blogs. Get a subscription to the Spec, and get one for all your neighbours while you’re there. Just for a while, 30 years or so. At which time you’ll probably get your daily paper through your sunglasses.
Anyway, welcome Spec readers to The Daily Dad. I hope you find your time here to be entertaining and enlightening.
Now excuse me while I go find my kids. I think they hitchhiked to Congo. Looking for a bit of food, I guess.
And if you want to hear what Jean had to say at the awards gala, below is the text of her comments:
Honourable Mayor of Hamilton, Organizers of the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction,, friends and family, Ladies and Gentlemen –
It’s a wonderful privilege to be here with you this evening and to share this moment with some great Hamiltonians in this great city.
I especially want to thank some of the people who have laid the foundation for me to be here today: my parents–Gerry and Marg Chamberlain who are with me tonight and of course my journalist husband Thom Froese and our three kids Elizabeth, Jonathan and Hannah who are still in Uganda — actually sleeping through my short talk tonight (of course, it is the middle of the night in Uganda).
Thom’s blog ‘daily dad’ will update you on how he is making out as a single dad for these few weeks that I’m away. My special thanks to my colleagues at McMaster University/St Josephs’ hospital as well as the board and supporters of STM who make the work possible in East Africa.
I do not stand here alone. A team approach is needed to address the ongoing tragedy of mothers and their babies dying of preventable pregnancy complications in the developing world–they call it ‘maternal mortality’ but to the child whose lost its mother from a pregnancy complication, it is simply called an ‘irreversible tragedy’ an ‘injustice’.
In Uganda alone, 6000 mothers die every year from pregnancy complications (compared to Canada, with the same population where we only loose 12 precious mothers annually).
But no longstanding human injustice is turned around in a short time–examples like the abolition of child labour and human slavery, ensuring women’s and minority’s right to vote, all serve as examples of the long journey to ensure justice and equality.
I do not believe that unsafe motherhood or maternal mortality around the world will be annihilated quickly either.
Anyone who has known me since my childhood will agree that I am a long distance runner–I’ve never been a sprinter–I don’t have the long legs of a sprinter. But my short legs can keep running–keep me persevering. My voice box may be small but it is deep and loud.
My voice and my legs have been part of the increasing movement to ensure mothers around the world are safe during delivery. I’ve been challenged by that ancient proverb:
“speak for those who have no voice….for the rights of all who are destitute”. Dying mothers have no voice–their stories and cries for help are buried with them in remote villages of East Africa.
So with the strength and hope that God has given me, I have tried to speak for those mothers and their babies.
But it is more than just speaking once….it’s speaking over and over…..and not just speaking alone but gaining other voices to be part of that sound. That is the essence of the Save the Mothers’ program — to gain other voices of indigenous East African leaders who are being trained through the STM’s Master of Public Health Leadership program to be advocates for safe motherhood in their own communities.
Now with nearly 300 East African professionals who have joined the program, that voice is so much stronger and louder–and it is not dependent on one person. These professionals are multidisciplinary from a range of backgrounds including politics, education, social science, the media and faith communities.
The voices of these STM leaders are also having an impact through their leadership in the Mother Friendly hospital Initiative which is operating in Uganda–helping to bring a dignified and safe delivery for women in rural Uganda.
I think of Fatima who died in her 9th pregnancy in rural Uganda. I attended her funeral at the request of her local mayor who I was visiting after she had died. I spoke at the funeral–challenging the audience that more should be done for the mothers in their community.
I raised my voice to speak out for her life—but it isn’t just my voice that is being heard. That same mayor joined the STM program and is raising his voice to promote safe motherhood in his own community.
Every longstanding human injustice will take time to righted–it’s a long distance run with the need for a united and strong voice. It has been my privilege to be part of this voice for saving the lives of mothers and their babies around the world and in particular E Africa.
I want to thank the many in this room and beyond who have cheered me on to keeping running. The job is not yet done but we’re well on our way.