Friday, July 20, 2012

Layettes for New Borns

20 July, 2012 entry from Elder Stokoe's journal

Today, Everett Young and the Relief Society sisters of the Loraine Ward, Port Elizabeth made twenty-one mothers and new born babies appreciative and happy.  There will be no need to send these mothers home with their newborn babies wrapped in newspaper as is so often the case here in the poverty areas of South Africa, no need to worry whether they will survive in the cold, no need to worry they will be without clothing during the first few months of their lives.  These babies will be warm and cuddly wrapped in the “Everett Young-Loraine ward-Relief Society” baby clothes and blankets.

We arose early this morning, drove to the home of sister Celeste Teixeira-Swiegelaar, a dietitian and the Loraine Ward Relief Society sister, and followed her to the Dora Nginza hospital.  Upon arrival at the hospital gate, we were met by security guards who searched the trunk of our car then waved us on to the premises. Two boxes of baby blankets and clothing, neatly bundled and carefully packaged with a picture of Christ and scriptural message, were carried to the second floor of the maternity ward.

We were met by one of the floor nurses who led us down a corridor to the office of the Matron of the Maternity Ward, Mrs. Alice Enid Geduld.  A gentle lady, humble and soft spoken, she welcomed us and expressed appreciation for the kind gesture.  Sister Stokoe and Celeste informed her this was a gift for the newborns and their mothers from the Relief Society of the Loraine ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The matron obtained pen and paper for the mothers to sign for the gifts, then instructed one of her assistant nurses to take us to meet the mothers.  The matron wanted Celeste, Sister Stokoe and Brother Stokoe to deliver them personally to the mothers to assure they were received.

Each of the twenty-one mothers were spoken to by Celeste and Sister Stokoe and given a package for their newborn baby.  Brother Stokoe was the silent gift-box carrier and photographer taking photos of all twenty-one mothers as they received their gifts. Sister Stokoe asked each mother her name, if the baby was a boy or a girl, and the baby’s name. There were expressions of gratitude and smiles as packages were opened and the contents viewed. Then Sister Stokoe asked mother number twenty-one if she had a boy or girl.  She replied, “Two.” She had twins.  With tears in her eyes she accepted her package.  

It was a good morning, a gratifying morning. The hymn, “Have I done any good in the world today, have I helped any one in need...” was never more meaningful and apparent than in that maternity ward with twenty-one mothers. We learned from the head matron that there were one hundred mothers with new born babies currently in the hospital. At least twenty-one of them will not go home wrapped in newspaper.      

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