Zimbabwe (MNN) — A young woman has traveled miles, mostly on foot, to deliver her child. Candle flames dance on the wall as her labor pains intensify.
This is the story of nearly 1,800 moms and babies born annually at Sanyati Baptist Hospital. This 110-bed facility does work in rural Zimbabwe in southern Africa. With electricity outages occurring on a regular basis and the high cost of diesel fuel prohibiting generator use, nurses often deliver late night babies by candlelight.
The Sanyati Baptist Hospital, which opened in 1952, is in the isolated town of Sanyati. The hospital functioned as a mission hospital until the government nationalized it in the 1980s. But over the decades as the country's economy collapsed, the hospital fell into serious disrepair.
Then in 2010, Baptist Global Response started "Extreme Makeover: Sanyati," a five-year project focused on restoring the hospital's infrastructure.
Teams from all across America have traveled to the compound, providing clean water, new roofing, fresh paint, and other repairs. In 2012, twelve teams visited the hospital conduction renovation that included the installation of solar panels, eliminating the need for candles during nighttime deliveries and emergency surgeries.
The Sanyati makeover continues to bring hope, says project director Peter Sierson. In spite of the advances, much work remains. "We still have at least two more years of work," Sierson says. "I have six teams lined up for 2013 and could probably use twice that number." There is a great need for a variety of skills, including construction, medical and student work.
In addition to roofing, painting, and tiling in 2012, the teams work in primary schools and local churches, sharing the hope of Christ to the villagers.
Many of the women who deliver their children at the hospital walk for miles. They often come two to three weeks ahead of their delivery date. They bring their own bedding and food. For $5 a week, pregnant women may "rent" a mat in the "matumba," which is a building designed for waiting mothers-to-be.
"Our goal is to make sure the hospital can function for the next 60 years," Sierson says. "I really think we're accomplishing that."
If you would like to help with the renovation, click here.
Pray that this coming year will be productive in the construction of the hospital. Ask the Lord to be with the women who walk for miles to get to the hospital. Pray that the staff at the hospital will have opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ.