Autumn is firmly upon us in the northern hemisphere, with its crisp nights and sunny days, the smells of bonfires and fallen leaves, and the ever shortening days as we glide towards the end of the year. Personally, I find autumn to be a time of new beginnings, no doubt tied to the decades I spent tied to the academic calendar. Back to school clothes, new pencil boxes, and shiny lunchboxes dominated my life for years, as I worked my way from elementary through graduate school, and then started the process over with my own daughter.
Autumn will forever represent new beginnings to me, a time to take stock of where we are, and turn inwards, making goals to carry us through this next season.
That is definitely true this year, as MFH emerges from lockdown in Haiti, and we begin to find our footing in a world which has changed so much. I have never been more proud of our staff on the ground, who kept our programming going even in the midst of such hardship, as we all learnt together what the threat of Coronavirus meant to our students, our teachers, our clinical staff, and the families we serve.
Our international staff also faced great challenges, first during an intense five day evacuation, and then as we learnt how to work effectively together, separated by 5 time zones. Even our mascot Gandalf the Cat had to adjust to her new home in Wisconsin!
Our students are back in their clinical rotations, and working hard to catch up after their six month break in lockdown. I’m delighted to report that every single student passed their first exam back after the break, showing that our nascent attempts at distance learning were not in vain. Special thanks go out to long time volunteer Sarah Taylor, who arranged the donation of tablets a year ago. Who could have known how much we would depend on them!
Of course, even with all the support in the world, our work remains challenging. The dollar has decreased in value by almost half in Haiti, and supplies remain in high demand. There is a dangerous shortage of gloves, and shipping from the US has become more challenging than ever, due to a lack of commercial options.
In response, we are delighted to announce our second annual Snuggles for Supplies Quilt Raffle! Quilter extraordinaire Collen Rusch has graciously donated one of her stunning works of art in order to raise funds for much needed necessities. The auction begins on 13 October and runs through the 24th. For more information or to bid, please go to https://go.rallyup.com/635247 Good luck!
If there is one thing COVID 19 has taught me, it is that people can and will come together in times of great need. You, our beloved community, have responded to our requests like never before, and you all show no signs of slowing down! Thank you for always showing up for us, and the families of the Central Plateau!
Midwives for Haiti