Sitting at the gate to board my plane to London after 24 hours of r & r at a hotel in Miami. I was able to sleep for 10 hours in an air-conditioned room, under a comforter, it was heavenly. I have been reflecting on my short trip to Haiti and thinking through ways to make more lasting change and finding ways to be productive with my frustrations, hopefully I can implement some of these ideas given time. I am thinking of the mom who had the stillbirth and if she has been able to grieve, think of the mom with the high blood pressure from the mobile clinic and if she has gotten help, remembering the woman with the terrible breast infection and if it’s resolved with antibiotics or she will have to get it surgical managed. It is hard not knowing the end of these stories, and it leaves me feeling so grateful that my practice here allows a level of continuity and intimacy with my clients that is impossible in most settings.
My last 24 hours in Haiti were full. I did get a good solid start on cleaning and organizing the storage room at the house. Finding things that were salvageable and some things that sadly were not, and some that should get to the hospital and get used sooner rather then later. It is hard in this situation not to hoard things, but then they inevitably don’t get used and things like medications and chromic suture expire and become unusable. Nature moves to chaos, entropy is the way of things if left on their own so we must find a way around it so that we can be more effective as volunteers, more useful to the women and children of that beautiful place.
Friday was a day of parties. The matron graduation in the morning which was a moving ceremony full of singing and dancing, skits and the pledge the matrons made to do their work well to save the lives of mothers and babies. This program is truly something to be proud of, a thing of the Haitian midwives, a need that they saw and filled. It was great to see this second class receive their certificates with such obvious pride at their accomplishments. Friday night was a dance party with the girls at the orphanage and drinks with 2 of the translators for the program who have become friends. The girls were so excited and we danced so hard sweat was pouring down my face. You have not experienced life until you have heard 60 Haitian girls ages from 5-18 screaming with delight and moving their bodies in perfect time when a Justin Beiber song comes on…it was hilarious and wonderful. We danced to American and Haitian pop alike. Girls of all sizes grabbing my hands to spin with them and the older girls showing me how to shake and po
p like a Haitian. As challenging as some of the logistics are to staying with the girls I wouldn’t trade it. For having so little they are able to bring so much.
Saturday I awoke to some sweet and quiet moments on the steps with some of the girls I have grown closest to, and some love notes from the older girls in the group, practicing their English and showing their appreciation and affection. Every year that we return we get a little closer, we are able to prove to them that we will be back next year and are not disappearing forever. This year the leaving was hard. There were some fierce quick hugs, little arms locking around my waist, and then I hopped up into the back of the jeep, and I left. The long bumpy, dusty ride to the airport and the 3.5 hour flight delay made my shower and bed last night all the sweeter.
I will not be arriving in Sierra Leone until Tuesday morning and I am not sure what my internet access will be like. I will do my best to stay in touch, and I love hearing from those of you who feel compelled to write, but I want to apologize for not responding to everyone directly, internet time is often few and far between.
Thanks for being with me,