It is April and I am in Haiti. I have decided to work with Midwives for Haiti; an organization that trains Hatien midwives, provides prenatal care in mobile clinics and works with local matrones to increase the safety of the births they attend. This work combines three of my great loves; education, community and birth.
I come to Haiti in the midst of considerable thought about social sustainability; that is how a community creates a good and healthy life for its people both now and for future generations; knowing that it requires these things for all people in order for it to exist for anyone.
Here in Haiti, I have come to find the deep interconnection between my country's history, with all its wealth and the deaths of mothers and baby's in this country. I have heard well meaning people comment that perhaps they have too many babies anyway and so it does not matter so much. In healthy sustainable communities people plan how many children they have with reasonable reassurance that this child and the child's mother will live. They know that baby will be offered a free education and will be given the health care needed for a productive life. The parents in Haiti want this as much as anyone. It is the song within a mother as she caries her child. Always when the baby first opens it's eyes for the first time, the mother has hope.
If one fourth of all the children in your community do not live to be five years of age, you do not meet the most basic elements of a healthy, good life. And yet in Haiti we see many, many ways of living day to day life that are at the heart of healthy, sustainable happy lives.
In my time here, I hope to reflect on how the lessons of motherhood and birth are passed down through informal and formal systems of sustainability; how a country shaken with disaster and poverty maintains that which we in the United Sates struggle to hold onto and try to imitate. I hope to share stories that illustrate the best of how people create goodness for now and future generations.