Today has been a whirlwind of emotions. I woke up at 7am and with very little English spoken here, had little direction as of what to do. Mamas started showing up for prenatals (all walk-in, no appointments) but I quickly learned that without knowing creole, there was very little I could do. So I went upstairs and started working on any project I could find. I organized their book library, then cleaned and organized the supply room. While doing this I fought back tears the entire time. I just kept asking "why am I here? What good could I possibly do..." I am relational and l love people and culture. So not having many to communicate with is hard for me.
After awhile, I tried venturing downstairs again. Now there were two mamas with 3 beautiful and tiny babies! All girls. Two were twins and they were all just so darn cute. One mama must have caught my look of admiration because she immediately scooped her baby off the bed and gave her to me! There I was- looking straight in the eyes of this stunningly dark skinned newborn who had been born here just days or weeks ago (there was no translator around so I have no idea how old she was, very new though!) Holding this baby and sitting amongst the women (even if they were probably just talking about me) was so redeeming. I went from feeling defeated and purposeless to at least feeling connected for a quick moment. I then when on to go through all the prenatal charts taking out the ones who have not come in in over 3 months.
After this, one of the midwives came to me and said "massage"
I wasn't sure what she meant by it but quickly learned from her hand motions that she wanted a massage from me!! At first I was taken back when she guided me upstairs to the table to sit so I could massage her back. But after a minute of rubbing her tired and tight shoulders, I had a quick vision of Jesus washing feet. Why wouldn't I give her a massage? She is tired and obviously needs one! So I sat there for a good 20-30 min giving the best massage these unqualified hands could give!
Once the massage was done I went and read a chapter in "Wild". I went searching for the book while at PDX because I really wanted to see the movie when I got home. I am 100 pages in and it's crazy to read about this woman's solo adventure while I experience a solo adventure of my own!
Appointments end at 2pm here and then the place grows very quiet. So I decided to venture just outside the gates (just on the other side so I would stay safe) and watch the people walk by. So many walking about on this dusty bumpy road. People and cows and chickens, and goats and dogs...
After awhile, Claudin, one of the translators walked down the road. It was so refreshing having someone to talk to. I asked about his family, their town, jobs, everything I could think of. I just want to learn about the people I meet. Claudin has been with his girlfriend for 3 years now and wants to marry her so bad but cannot yet afford them a place to live. It costs $600 a YEAR to rent a place here. I was so heartbroken that this is something he cannot afford. His only job is to translate at the birth center- which means he only has work when someone like me is here! I was beginning to find purpose in my day. If only it was providing a job for Claudin. I told him about my family and showed photos of Andy and the girls (who I have missed desperately since the moment I left them). We talked about Haiti and America and the advantages and disadvantages they both have. Here, everything is slow... Service is VERY slow (like dinner last night) and Claudin mentioned how America has something called "fast food"! I assured him that Haiti's slow food is much better then Americas fast food! ;)
It became very dark quickly and as soon as it did, a taxi pulled up to the gate where we stood. A stunning woman stepped out with a belly to match. She was in labor! I was excited to see the Haitian midwives in action and support this mama to be. She was handling her contractions so internal it was hard to know when one was happening. I would just watch her foot start tapping to know that she was. It turned out that her blood pressure was way too high though, so another taxi came to transfer to the Hospital. I felt sad for her. She was young and alone, and now had to take a taxi (fearfully I'm sure) to another place alone.
I will go to sleep tonight thinking about her. She is a beautiful and strong mama. I pray that she and her baby stay healthy in the hours to come...