Hello COHI fans, friends, and gentle readers.
I am writing these words today from our office in Austin, having arrived home safe and sound from our recent trip to Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel. I am finding myself looking longer at my children, breathing deeper as I run around Town Lake’s trails, feeling a greater amount of gratitude for the path I tread after this last trip to the Middle East.
We were met by gracious NGO workers and program managers, kind and committed aid workers, and generous, capable clinicians. COHI’s team listened to the challenges and gaps in programming currently facing not just Syrian refugees but the families living in the Jordanian hosting communities as well. COHI will follow up in the coming weeks with these potential collaborators in Jordan/Turkey/Syria/Lebanon and we hope to begin our active operations supporting these women shortly.
COHI’s team celebrated with the members of our partners in the West Bank and Israel, Midwives for Peace, in their five year birthday bash. We witness sisterhood, support, deep emotion, and great vision for the group as they reflected on their work together over the last five years, and set intention for the coming years of collaboration. Given the darkness that permeates our media, news, and imagery coming out of this part of the world, I love sharing the news of this inspirational work. They are doing it, one birth at a time, making the peace and change they want to see in the world and COHI is so grateful to be a part of it.
I want to personally thank those of you who donated so that COHI’s team was able to travel to the Middle East this month. There are now between 1000-2000 refugees fleeing the violence in Syria for Jordan, with upwards of 10 deliveries a day in the biggest camp alone. There is so much to do! Being able to share a day with the members of the Midwives for Peace group enabled COHI to be a part of the work we’ve helped to move forward, and to celebrate even if for just a few hours, the bravery that so often goes unnoticed in this region. We can’t wait to support them as they move forward into the coming activities and planning phase.
In gratitude, for all of you and gentle landings,
Sera Bonds, MPH