Friday, November 4, 2011
The local Matwans come for a visit
Last Saturday, twenty-five local matwans came to spend the morning here at MamaBaby Haiti. I was nervous, that they would not come and worried that I would not be able to create the sense of welcome that was so important to me.
But at 9:30 the first two knocked on our gate and more kept arriving all morning. Here you can see them having good fun with a model of a baby and pelvis. They are demonstrating how to deliver a breech baby.
We enjoyed a wonderful morning of friendship and common interests; laughter and many stories as well as our concerns about access to care and supplies. They signed up for a class in "Helping Babies Breathe" and agreed to meet once a month. We explained that our hope was that it be their meeting with us providing the space, speakers and resources based on their needs. They talked long amongst themselves while we prepared sandwiches and clean birth kits for them to take home.
I am told that 78% of all babies are delivered by these strong women; many of whom came to be midwives through a powerful dream. They are smart, loving community leaders who work for almost no pay and with few resources.
They work without the ability to read and write because no one ever taught them. We have resource books everywhere here. We look in them night and day and use the internet for what we can not find in books. The literacy rate of any country can not help but be deeply tied to its healthcare. It is my hope that the next generation of Hatien midwives will retain the love of community these midwives have, with an ability to read, , study so that they can have access to the resources necessary for safe motherhood. I know these midwives are forever sad thar they can not read and write and I share their sadness with them.
One midwife told us she also helped farmers with a difficult delivery of a baby calf as I think midwives do the world over. I told her I would teach her what I know about birthing babies if she would teach me to birth a calf and we all had a good laugh.
We offered them an opportunity to spend a week here in a "mini residency" where we can easily share practices and get to know one another better.
They came in good dresses with hats; looking exactly as my grandmother would have thought ladies who come to visit other ladies should dress. We could not match them for style or grace but hope they felt our sincere desire to be partners with them in caring for Haiti's mothers and babies.