We have arrived at the birth clinic and naturopathic centre, MamaBaby, yesterday early morning after a long night in theFort Lauderdaleairport. Our first day was getting acquainted with Cap Haitian, the nearest major city. After a mini-orientation, today we started work. We went to a nearby school and taught English classes this morning (tons of fun!) then started clinic this afternoon. We saw three patients only because we haven’t formally posted a sign out front to announce that we are here.
So far, the clinic is very different than what we are used to – limited information from patients and translation difficulties are big obstacles. But, we brought so many supplies to add to what was already a good stock, so we have good access to medicines.
It was a bit overwhelming to arrive to a large house full of Hatien and American midwives (one American midwife brought her partner and children too), midwifery students, multiple translators and a WOOFer (volunteer gardener and general helper). We all sleep upstairs and share one bathroom. Add to that the chickens, cooks and hired yard helps and the bustle of the midwifery clinic downstairs with mom’s and babies all day, and this is a very busy place. In one week 14 naturopathic students from CCNM will arrive too. I don’t know how we will sustain all of it, but it will be busy and wonderful, and the best part is that the ND clinic will be in full swing and word is that hundreds of patients come per day.
Haiti is a place of both beauty and tragedy. Women die very often in labour or for other causes (injury, accident, etc), and so orphans are commonplace. Shortly before we arrived, a four month old little girl lost her mother to postpartum hemmorhage and a case of eclampsia that was mismanaged after transfer to the hospital. There are many, many difficulties with the delivery of care in the hospitals and horror stories seem to be all around about it. This little girl who lost her mother was one of the first babies to greet us. Her father brought her here because he couldn’t look after her. Her legs and arms are stick thin and she is passive and subdued. It is hard to see it. Laura and I feed her formula and look after her in the afternoons while her father works in the yard.
Hope all is well in Canada, looking forward to more updates soon 🙂