When some of my children were teenagers they discovered the many benefits of having a midwife mom; one of them being the use of the birth center for social gatherings or "party tonight at the BC." This went on happily, without our knowledge, for some time until they were discovered and good times such as those put to rest.
Party at the birth center has taken on a new meeting here in Haiti as the women begin to gather outside the wall at 4:00 am to wait for the clinic to open. Most walk or take the tap tap or some arrive on motorcycle taxis. They laugh, talk, joke and pass the time. In time, the market women will come to sell fruit or other food, littering the ground with this and that. It is, I can see now, a place to gather and meet friends. They come in small groups, leaving children it seems at home, for what must be a relaxing day off from so much work.
The women describe their work as working in the yard - getting water, washing by hand, cooking on charcoal and growing some food.
I had felt badly about the long wait ( and still do in many ways ) but here in the early morning as they laugh and talk, I understand its " a party at the birth center" and all are invited. We have started filling old vitamin bottles with clean water for the long walk home in the difficult heat of the afternoons.
A woman has just arrived in labor and the clinic needs preparing for the day and so my day begins.