Facebook’s Little Miracle

Sending an SOS

Romoni Engtipi, in pain and about to deliver her third child realized that no one was there to help her in the hamlet of Lakhan Bey Village, in Uttar Pradesh, India.

With help from Hmahruaii Chhakchhuak, a Christian mission worker in Japong, a remote village in Eastern Karbi Anglong as well as help from the Facebook group, Chhangchheness, she was able to deliver a healthy baby boy.

The baby was named Facebook Teron by its proud father, Harsing Teron after the episode. The situation was so grave that, Hmahruaii Chhakchhuak, a Christian mission worker had no option other than to send an SOS to Facebook, the social networking site and ultimately Facebook users responded with vital tips.

Lakhan Bey Village

The out of the ordinary situation took place in Lakhan Bey Village on February 26, a place where people still lead a primitive life with a lack of modern health facilities other than the nearest health centre located in Jaipong which is nothing more than a ghostly shuttered structure without any health resources.

Romoni Engtipi, a forty year old lady, was in labor with her third child and urgently needed medical assistance. The situation was so grave that Harsing, her helpless husband did not know what to do to help her. He rushed her to a local Presbyterian church, where Hmahruaii was left with no other option but to conjure up all her wits and providential aid she could gather. She had no knowledge about the child delivery method. She tried her best to call for help from nearby villages for guidance, but her phone calls would not go through due to their frail network.

Sending for Urgent Help

As a last resort she sent for urgent help to her Facebook friends among whom there were doctors and nurses so that she could contact them directly over Facebook, even though she could not call them over the phone.

The first Facebook user to respond was Joice Ralti, wife of Rev. P. C. Lalropuia settled in Kolkata. The nurse tried her best to communicate with Hmahruaii over the phone but the line went dead within a few seconds. Thankfully, the facebook group site remained steady and instructions rapidly poured in. In the semi dark room light up by a kerosene lamp, Romoni was turning jittery. She was in a state of panic, something urgently needed to be done.

The exhausted mother needed instant energy; instruction came to feed her sugar syrup but in that poor village, sugar is a luxury, the whole village had to be virtually scanned for a lump of sugar. Eventually Romoni was fed some sugar syrup to restore her energy to help with the delivery.

When Hmahruaii was juggling with more and more solutions pouring in on Facebook, one of the members, R. K. Hanamti removed maximum observations from various members on the issue, and brought forward the lessons sent by Joice. Hmahruaii could then follow the necessary steps at a decisive point in time.

A Divine Experience

The church advocate followed the course directed by Joice word for word, “it was an divine experience, a skill which I applied in the name of God, right from handling the baby to detaching it from her mother and helping it to breathe, as if Joicy delivered me the providential guidance” Hmahruaii said. Ultimately a healthy baby boy was delivered.

Hmahruaii, while talking to a group of reporters at Romoni Engtipi’s hut thanked the Facebook group and the Internet network which remained connected throughout the operation. She admitted that without the instructions through Facebook she was totally helpless. She was the last hope of the villagers who knew nothing and they pinned their confidence on her. The Facebook group, that helped her out, call themselves Chhangchheness, which in Mizo idiom means a poignant state of mentality.

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them.