A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families

by International Medical Corps
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families
A Healthier Future for South Sudan's Families

Project Report | May 19, 2014
Madi's Story

By Maia Baldauf | Communications Officer

Madi's Struggle - Photo by Maia Baldauf
Madi's Struggle - Photo by Maia Baldauf

On a clinic bed in a site for those displaced by violence in South Sudan, rests Madi, a woman who simultaneously cries and smiles as she talks about her struggles. She has come to the clinic with stomach pains and vomiting. But she shows heartache more than anything.

Madi is a foreign national living in South Sudan. She fled her East Africa homeland because she suffered persecution at the hands of those hostile toward her practice of worship. At one time, Madi was arrested for practicing her religion and spent six months in jail.

Four years ago, Madi and her husband were forced to flee their country and make the long journey to Bor, South Sudan where she heard business was good and life was more promising. Madi established her own shop while her husband managed his own business. They made enough to eat well most days and keep a roof over their heads.  A year and a half ago, she gave birth to her first child, a son.

Then in December 2013, violence broke out in South Sudan and Bor burst into conflict, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and the displacement of more than one million people. Once again, Madi and her husband feared for their lives and were forced to flee to the only refuge they knew in Juba. When Madi and her small family arrived, she had no one to lean on. All her family support was hundreds of miles away.

“And I worry about my husband. He is angry and he worries all the time. Before, we had some money, a social life. Now he just stays at home, doing nothing. He is always distressed. What can I do?” Madi pleads. But she has hope in her son, Zarit. He is curious and precocious, with a wink in his eyes like he’s reading your thoughts. Madi prays for him every day.

“I tell God, ‘do not see me, see my son,’” she says, with tiny tears continuously falling from her face.

Madi quietly admits she has little hope, between fear for her life in the Protection of Civilian (PoC) site, where foreign nationals can face harsh treatment, concern about her husband’s mental illness, and uncertainty about the future. Basic resources such as food, water, and health care are stretched thin in the PoC. Although some residents have managed to set up small kiosks for goods or services, neither Madi nor her husband have found a way to generate income.

Her family of three lives in a cramped make-shift structure in the densely populated PoC. Many residents are worried about the spread of cholera or more flooding as the rainy season pounds down on them.

To add to Madi’s stresses, she came to the clinic with morning sickness. Her second child is on the way.

“She was not doing so well, very sick,” says the International Medical Corps staff physician who managed Madi’s case. If she hadn’t heard about the maternal health clinic, she would have been left severely dehydrated and on the verge of passing out from sickness.

Madi wonders what kind of world her child will be brought into. This too, she says with a smile but through soft stream of tears. For a displaced woman and mother of one with another the way, Madi maintains an immensely strong spirit.

Where our doctors and nurses can, they will support patients with attentive health care, yet International Medical Corps recognizes the most resilient strength comes from the community. We celebrate mothers like Madi and we are there to offer health services at every opportunity. 

Madi's Hope - Photo by Maia Baldauf
Madi's Hope - Photo by Maia Baldauf
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Organization Information

International Medical Corps

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Project Leader:
Kimberly Laney
Los Angeles , CA United States

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