Voices from the Diaspora: Gladias – Midwives For Haiti

Voices from the Diaspora: Gladias

My strong bond and my work with Midwives for Haiti began with a quick phone call one morning in 2010. I received a phone call from Brother Harry and Brother Michel from whom I learned English for free at Maison Fortunée, an orphanage in my hometown Hinche in Haiti. They asked me if I could interpret for a midwife at L’Hôpital Sainte Thérèse. I did. I kept on receiving calls to interpret for the midwives. I fell deeply in love with Midwives for Haiti immediately after I started to work in different departments including the Labor and Delivery, the classroom at the Nadene Brunk Eads School, and especially the mobile prenatal clinics in various remote villages. The positive impact, both directly and indirectly, this organization has on the lives of women and babies, communities, and many individuals including me, is highly remarkable.

I, Gladias Sainvil, am a clear example of, what Wendy Dotson, one of our Board Members, would call “Collateral Benefit”. My chance to attend university was extremely low before I started to work as a medical interpreter for Midwives for Haiti. Through Midwives for Haiti I met so many important friends from the US including the Dotson family, Sarah Ferguson, Sr. Kathryn Kramer and many US medical doctors, nurses, and midwives for whom I interpreted in Haiti. They supported my college education in the United States financially, emotionally, and socially. My obtaining an education in an American university may not have been one of the Midwives for Haiti’s objectives; however, it positively affects myself, my family, and the people around me both on a personal and professional level.

After living in America from August 2013- February 2020 and receiving my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Thomas More University in the northern Kentucky area, I recently transitioned back to Haiti. I am deeply grateful to continue to be part of Midwives for Haiti. As outlined above, in addition to largely contributing to the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality in Haiti, we/Midwives for Haiti continue to indirectly impact many individuals and unfortunate communities in Haiti. I am grateful for seven new young interpreters we recently helped trained in Hinche right before the spread of Covid-19. These youngsters are passionate about interpreting for Midwives for Haiti as they improve both the volunteers’ experiences in Haiti and their own personal lives.

My experiences with Midwives for Haiti and my college education in the US seem to be intertwined in how they both changed my perception, providing me with a diversity of learning experiences, and how they further deepened my passion about my/our responsibility to make a positive difference where we are, and in the lives of those in need.

As a Haitian who has been part of Midwives for Haiti for over 10 years now, and has lived in both cultures, I can see the importance of the work of Midwives for Haiti through the positive words, and in the eyes of those women and families in those small and unfavorable communities in Haiti, those mothers at the hospital, those young people who completed their nursing studies and are deeply passionate about being a participant in the call of midwifery and in this organization. We thank those who have been and will be contributing to this noble work for which Haiti is so desperate.