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ALL THE ROADS LED ME HERE

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Many roads brought me here. My desire to do more for my country women in my profession, my anguish over the absence of any true and full coverage of women’s stories in our mainstream media, my fear for the future of my daughter as a citizen of my country but most of all, it was the endless nights of self-anger and self-dissatisfaction, self-questions about the strength of my work and rebuking myself even, that I should be doing more to make a difference for Solomon Islands women as a professional journalist.

When I was born in May, 1980, my mother gave birth to me at the National Referral Hospital in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara. She was driven to the hospital in a taxi. Doctors attended my birth and my mother recovered in a bed in the maternity ward and I was given all the injections I needed at birth. She returned home with me without any problems. I was her first child.

The following month that same year, my mother-in-law paddled a canoe by herself for five hours to a clinic to give birth to my husband. The clinic was a thatched leaf hut, held up by a foundation of raw timber and mangrove sticks. There was no electricity. There were no doctors. There was no ready supply of injections for newborn babies. There was no bed for my mother-in-law to rest on after giving birth. She paddled the five hours back to the village from the clinic and went to another leaf hut, isolated from the main village. There she nursed my husband, was fed by village women, until her post-birth menstruation was over before she returned to her husband’s house. My husband was her ninth child.

Twenty-seven years later I gave birth to these women’s grandchild. Like my mother, I gave birth to my daughter at the National Referral Hospital and had access to all the medical facilities, and doctors and nurses needed to ensure that both my newborn daughter and I lived. She is now a lively four year old, in her second year in kindergarten, and says she wants to be a journalist like me. It is a different scenario for her cousins in the village – they do not have an early childhood centre in the village and for my daughter’s girl cousins, I know they will eventually have to leave school to allow their brothers to advance further because of financial constraints. I know also that there are a hundred thousand more girls across the country who will face similar fates.

I grieve over these deep disparities and over the many more issues threatening the rights and futures of girls and women in my country, especially with the burning knowledge that I should be doing more to put these situations to the national audience in my country. Hence, after much searching on how I can be doing more, I am here with a simple vision to devote the all of myself to talk with Solomon Islands women and write of the realities they face.

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Paulina Lawsin's picture

That's a beautiful girl. Is

That's a beautiful girl. Is that you or your child? Thanks for sharing your stories. I admire the bravery of your mother in law and at the same time sad that she has to paddle and give birth alone. The men has still to be taught how to take care of their wives during pregnancy and child birth.

How are you going to do that will be the continuing challenge.

Good luck in your work.

Paulina
www.paulawsin.multiply.com

Maria_T's picture

Good luck!

I hope you will be able to achieve your goals and help the women of your country-having a personal connection always makes one more passionate. I applaud you for seeking to bring light to the situation of the women of your country and hoping to change not only your child's, but others' futures in a positive manner.

Emily Garcia's picture

Thank you!

Dear Ruthana,

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. The images you've painted in my mind by bringing these two women's experiences alongside each other for comparison are vivid. The contrast is stark and sadly one replicated within and between countries throughout the world. Thank you for coming to PulseWire to discuss these issues with us on both a personal and a political level! That is, I feel, the beauty of this site--how experience shared can lead to social change action.

Best wishes,

Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Associate

dbunton's picture

Inspire Us

Ruthana,

A very touching story. As a father, and as a parent, I can relate to you and your family's drive to ensure your future. I can also relate to the desire to do more. Day in, and day out, I contemplate if I am doing all I can, or if there is more that others can do. Our messages don't have to be published in major magazines, or aired on television to make a difference. When we share and read stories in online communities, there could be one person who realizes their "actions" are the biggest step in making a difference. Yesterday, I was reminded to not project my personal objectives in my actions, by recognizing that often; people talk about helping others, but their hearts speak different words.

Your story incorporates family, which reflects why you do what you do. This is no popularity contest. It's real in the feild. Your story is real.

I understand how frustrating it can be for us on this mission to make the world a better place. Reading stories like yours, and seeing your beautiful daughter, is a reminder of why we do what we do. Your mother-in-law was brave, and to imagine anyone, let alone a woman in labor, paddling a canoe five miles, is a reminder of the struggle. The analogy of your mother-in-law's journey will remain in my head as a reminder to keep moving in the right direction. One story can make the difference in the lives of many, if it is genuine.

Thanks and good luck!

Darren Bunton

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