Excerpt from: Women of Sierra Leone: Traditional Voices (1992).
A publication of the Partners in Adult Education Women’s Commission.
Mammy Mafila Thoronka lives in the town of Alikalia in the Koinadugu District and is a Kuranko. She and her parents were born there; the Thoronkas are a leading family of Alikalia.
Traditional Birth Attendant
In 1983 she was trained by and started working with nurse Angie Hoolsema from the Christian Extension Services (CES) primary health care program. Then in January 1985 she graduated from a Traditional Birth Attendants training course held in Kabala for women from the Northern Province.
From that time until…March 1989 Mafila had delivered 85 babies. With all normal deliveries…Mammy Mafila works on her own in the Alikalia Clinic. It is only when there is a problem she cannot handle that she relies on the Maternal and Child Health or other CES personnel.
Mammy Mafila talks about her childhood
I was a child during the time of Milton Margai. Many things happened then. I did not understand everything. But that was the time when the whole country was made one…I can’t tell you how old I was…you know, at first they did not keep records…but that was the time of independence (1961).
I did not go to school. My father enrolled all his children in school, but after only four months, he said a person should not send a girl to school…I liked school. But if the person who sent you withdraws you, what can you say?
Mammy Mafila’s advice to women
I would advise the ones who want to be independent, the one whoa re clever to respect and learn from others…you should teach the child how to do the things you do. If you are a trader, you should teach her about that until she is used to that.
WE HONOR MAMMY MAFILA THORONKA
AND ALL THE TRADITIONAL BIRTH ATTENDANTS
OF WHOM SHE IS A TRUE REPRESENTATION
FOR ALL THEY DO QUIETLY IN THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITIES
TO HELP WOMEN DELIVER SAFELY!!