Today is mother’s day. In Lesotho, the traditional concept of mother becomes as murky as the mountain rivers after a strong rain. Lesotho has the 11th highest maternal mortality rate globally with 620 reported maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. If that figure isn’t staggering enough, consider that 27% of women of childbearing age are HIV positive with a life expectancy estimated between 41 and 49 years. Furthermore, it is highly probable that all of these reports are gross underestimates considering that the vast majorities of women don’t have access to medical care and therefore simply fade away without report, leaving Lesotho with, per report, half of its children categorized as orphaned and vulnerable.
We don’t need to revisit statistics to remind us of the impact of maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS on the population served by TTL. We experience the figures first hand when we receive a motherless newborn into the safe home, when our outreach team partners with extended family members to find a caregiver for an orphaned child. We see it in the faces of children caring for children, the traditional idea of a mother no more than a photo or a vague memory.
Today in Lesotho, we celebrate mothers and all those who are caregivers. We celebrate the caregivers that work tirelessly day after day and night after night in the TTL safe home to provide care for the infants and children. We celebrate the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the siblings, cousins and neighbors who come forward to care for the orphaned children of Lesotho. We celebrate the resilience of the people that come together to care for one another, for whom no face will fade away without knowledge, without report.