I knew as soon as I became pregnant that I had to go for pre-natal check-ups, to make sure both myself and my baby were alright. There’s a good health clinic in Tena, the provincial capital, but it’s so far away from where I live in Mondaña. It takes more than four hours to get there by boat and bus. During my pregnancy I only managed to go there a couple times to get ultrasounds, because it was too expensive and took too much time away from my responsibilities at home. I was really worried that something would happen to me or my baby, and we wouldn’t be able to get help.
My community did have a small health clinic, but I felt so uncomfortable whenever I went there for check-ups. It was dusty and dirty and the building was being eaten away by termites. The equipment at the clinic was really old, and the power wasn’t reliable. It was always really hot inside. There weren’t enough doctors at the clinic so I usually had to sit and wait for a long time when I went there. It was really uncomfortable, but I had no other choice.
During my pregnancy, WE was working to rebuild a new clinic in my community, and many of my neighbours were helping build it. As I watched the clinic being built, I felt so much hope for my baby’s future. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to take him to the old clinic, or worry about travelling far.
Fortunately, I was able to bring a healthy baby boy into the world—Jameson! My grandmother lives in Tena, so I could stay with her at the end of my pregnancy and get to the clinic to give birth. And now, I can take Jameson to the new clinic for regular checkups. The clinic has really good service and doctors. Jameson has gotten all the vaccines he needs, and I’ve gone for check-ups too. Because of the clinic, I know Jameson will grow up healthy, and I have big dreams for him. I want things to be different for him than for me—I want him to be a leader, I want him to go to school and become whatever he wants to be, and never face the difficulties I’ve had to face.
Yessenia Aguinda lives in Mondana, Ecuador. She shared her story sitting in her house, bouncing Jameson on her lap, a few yards away from the newly built health clinic. This interview was translated, condensed and edited.