Background: The purpose of this paper is to learn from traditional midwives their experience of practising in an area of rural Kenya. Methods: This qualitative service-based research project used a simple exploratory and descriptive design. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and fieldwork notes taken during and immediately after the interviews with 84 traditional midwives. Data were thematically analysed and themes identified through paired-author consensus. Exemplars using the participants' translated words were utilised for analysis and presentation purposes. Findings: In being humble, patient and kind, the traditional midwives used their relationship with women to create an enabling, calm and physiologically sound intrapartum environment. Discussion: Traditional midwives provide a valuable service to women in this area of Kenya at a time when their role is being increasingly devalued by global health agencies. Conclusions: We recommend a redirection of global policy from one that esteems only professional caregivers to one that recognises the potential value of traditional midwives and supports them through sustainable, evidence-based education and resourcing.