I am sitting here in one of the giant rocking chairs on the porch of the Midwives For Haiti, looking out over the rooftops of Hinche, watching an approaching storm roll in from over the hills. This is my first trip to Haiti, and the highlight of my first month as Executive Director of MFH. I have enjoyed getting to know the dedicated staff here at the site, and our colleagues at St. Therese Hospital. We have such an extraordinary team here, and their dedication to our mission and the families of the Central Plateau is both humbling and inspiring.
A Few Highlights
I was lucky enough to travel down with Nadene Brunk Eads, the founder of MFH. It is easy to see why she is universally loved and admired. The day after we arrived, the first annual Staff Appreciation Day was held. Surrounded by pink ribbons and balloons, we sang together, ate together and talked about our dreams for the future. The new cohort of student midwives was scheduled to arrive the next week, so our teachers and clinical preceptors held several inservice days to prepare. Each protocol was examined and debated, sometimes loudly, until everyone was clear not only on the procedures they would be teaching, but why they were teaching them. It was an exhausting week, but by the end, everyone was so excited to meet the new students.
The new cohort of student midwives was scheduled to arrive the next week, so our teachers and clinical preceptors held several inservice days to prepare. Each protocol was examined and debated, sometimes loudly, until everyone was clear not only on the procedures they would be teaching, but why they were teaching them. It was an exhausting week, but by the end, everyone was so excited to meet the new students.
Finally the big day arrived! The first day of Class 11 was bright and sunny, just like our new cohort. They already hold a nursing degree, but our newly revamped 18 month program will turn them into fully trained midwives, ready to make a dent in the unacceptable maternal mortality rate here in Haiti. The students were nervous, but excited, just like new students everywhere. It will be a joy to watch them develop their skills, clinically, professionally and personally.
They are just beginning their journey to the best job in the world! Midwifery is the perfect mix of head, heart and hand skills, and I indulged in some nostalgic reminiscing of my own student days.
We are so lucky to have long time volunteer and friend of MFH Sarah with us for the first few weeks of school. Sarah is teaching our Community module, along with Education Director Daisy and Head Instructor Limone. We are delighted, as always, to have Sarah back with us.
We also were delighted to welcome back volunteer Debbie, another returning friend. We are so delighted when our volunteer family returns again and again. They have a wealth of knowledge about MFH’s programs, and I am learning a lot from them. Both Sarah and Debbie spent time in our community clinics, working alongside our staff midwives and our Haitian Ministry of Health colleagues.
If you would like to volunteer with us in Haiti, please check out this link:
We have both clinical and non-clinical roles, and we would love to share our programs with you!
Upcoming Workshop Event
Click here to learn more about our upcoming workshop “Beyond Bandaids: Ethical Volunteering in the Maternal Health Sphere”.
A Wonderful Beginning
I have so enjoyed getting to know our wonderful employees, students, and the people of Haiti. This is a difficult place in many respects, but it is beautiful, and it is easy to see how much of a difference MFH has made in our community. I can’t wait for the next chapter in our collective life here to unfold. With your help, we can continue to make birth safer for the women and children of the Central Plateau and beyond.