On 2 March 2012, baby Amara Kibagendi choked while being fed on a meal of mashed potatoes mixed with milk by her nanny. While feeding, Amara started coughing persistently and on noticing this, her nanny began patting her back. When Amara started going faint, her nanny raised the alarm.
Good samaritans came to the rescue. However, baby Amara was already unresponsive, and so began the rush to hospital. One of these good samaritans, a nurse, performed First Aid on Amara as they headed to hospital but unfortunately, Amara was pronounced dead on arrival. She passed away at the tender age of just six months. Her parents were crushed.
“It was sudden, something we had never imagined would happen. It was unbelievable that she was with us one minute, and the next she was gone, without warning. Losing a child is the worst form of tragedy that any parent can go through. It is a kind of pain that pierces right through your heart,” Alice says.
The days after Amara’s passing -as the family made burial plans, were particularly excruciating. But as friends and relatives streamed into the Kibagendi home to comfort them, Alice picked up something in the words of comfort they received from the countless visitors.
“Many would tell me that they knew of other babies who had choked, that I should take heart because ‘these things happen to many babies’. Almost everyone who visited me had a story to share about a baby who had choked. Some mothers had actually been the ones feeding their own babies when they choked to death. Even in my own sorrow, my heart wept for these moms. I could only imagine their pain and the blame they heaped on themselves for the tragedy.”
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The loss of her daughter through choking then led Alice to start The Amara Initiative. The Amara Initiative trains house girls, parents and other caregivers on basic First Aid skills.
“The goal of The Amara Initiative is to ensure that as many people as possible have the skills necessary to intervene in a life-threatening situation before professional medical assistance arrives. This, after realizing that both children and adults die in situations where basic First Aid could have saved their lives.”
On Saturday 25 March 2017, the Amara Initiative will hold such a training at NPC Valley Road, from 9.30am – 4.00pm. This First Aid training will specifically be for nannies, where they will be taught in a language simple enough, and in a comfortable pace for them. Among others, the house girls will learn about safety issues and how to best handle emergencies. I believe this will be one of the best investments you can make as a parent with young children.
See flier below for more details:
Today, the work of Amara Initiative continues to be a daily source of inspiration for Alice. Through it, she believes that her sweet baby Amara continues to serve her purpose on earth.
“She may have been with us physically for a very short time — just six months — but her legacy lives on. Every other day, Amara helps save a life. She continues to be our pride and joy,” Alice says.
So go on and register your house girl for this very important training. Also share this message with as many parents as you can.
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Mummy Tales is a blog dedicated to empowering its readers on different aspects of maternal and newborn health, as well as various issues surrounding motherhood and women. Read more motherhood experiences of Kenyan moms here. Follow Mummy Tales on: FACEBOOK l INSTAGRAM l TWITTER