And Happy Spring!
… Haiti has been intermittently “on fire” in the past year, as my friends, family, and the ticket exchange agents at American and Delta Airlines are surely aware. Tough political and economic events have led to riots, crime, demonstrations, and cancellations of trips that Greg and I had scheduled. That led to LOTS of phone hours ( thank you Greg), rescheduling trips that were then re-rescheduled, but amazingly, we’re leaving for Haiti on this Saturday, if nothing explodes this Friday. Greg has made it there twice, and I spent a week in Port au Prince in October, at Heartline birth center, but I haven’t been to Hinche in nearly a year. The US State Dept. warning is still at a Level 4, “red/do not travel”, but we have come to rely much more on our In-Country Staff’s assessments, and they say it is OK to come. So here we go! As long as internet and power keep working, I’ll be on email but not my regular cell phone, from 4/27- 5/4.
This is mostly to tell you good news, though, really. What has been so amazing is the way I’ve seen Midwives for Haiti just epitomize the Brit cliche “Keep Calm and Carry On”….they truly have! In spite of weeks when no one could travel, including our teachers or students getting to and from class or clinicals, and chronic delays or failures in getting teaching or medical supplies into the country, a class of 29 new skilled birth attendants should graduate on May 24, Haitian Mothers Day.
Because of the country-wide shortages of all supplies and goods, we have got the heaviest( and strangest) load of stuff We’ve ever carried into Haiti. Of course there is a lot of medicine tastefully wrapped in black plastic to avoid confiscation at customs… gowns and stoles for the Upcoming Graduation , breast pumps, several laptops for educational purposes, and Greg’s tools and wood for building school cabinets. And on top of it all, Thanksgiving dinner– turkey, dressing, gravy, an artichoke casserole, all, lovingly frozen since last fall when we originally tried to come. I am not kidding….Thanksgiving in April will be the theme , and it’s about 50 lbs of frozen goodness crammed into Greg’s backpack. TSA made him empty it to prove that it was benign, and then re-pack. Along with MFH Education Director Diane, a who is flying back to Haiti today from her Colorado vacation with asparagus in Hollandaise sauce and cranberry sauce, we’ll host dinner for about 20 staff and friends tomorrow. IT IS Thanksgiving….so glad to see old friends, celebrate successful work in spite of BIG obstacles, and be grateful for many blessings, graces and mercies that keep it happening.
I am more aware than ever in my life of my flaws and failures… I think 6 decades of living o this planet with all these other humans gives most of us plenty to regret and grieve….this life is complicated and hard, in a myriad of ways, for each and all of us. So any forward movement, Kindness, friendship or victory needs is so worthy of recognition and joy. Be well, Friends! Celebrate your god moments, even if they are random, or in tough times, scarce. THe Haitians are good at this, and they keep me coming back.
Keep Calm and Carry On!
Wendy Dotson, CNM
“My mission is to expand the spectrum of childbirth options and improve health of women and infants by offering safe, respectful midwifery care, which promotes personal and family health and growth, and communicates love.”