Mrs. Des had her baby at home this afternoon, right around 1:30pm. He had just been pushed into the light when we arrived, having been called to take her to deliver at Maisson de Naissance, a wonderful birthing center nearby. But the little boy apparently couldn't wait.
Mrs. Des was sitting calmly on the blanket on the cement floor of her living room where she'd delivered the little man who lay on the same blanket in front of her, wide-eyed and still connected. When I arrived and congratulated her, the first thing she said was "We can get a chair for you." For me? She just delivered a baby for goodness sake! Two of her three girls are in our education program, Rose Clairmine and Fernanne. They have their mother's same serenity and beauty.
Madame Bernadette, a midwife who has been practicing for over 41 years - since she was 14 years old - arrived shortly, also having been preempted by the baby. She made him cry and cleaned his nose, helped deliver the afterbirth with skillful hands, then cleaned the baby and cut the cord. Incredible. And there we all were, sitting and standing in the living room. Madame Bernadette is a "fanm sage" (midwife) which literally translated is "wise woman." The baby will have follow-up care at Maisson de Naissance.
I admit that I had to step out fairly early on for some air and returned when I'd caught my breath. I didn't want to be ill when I'd done nothing but watch. The room was crammed with women. The air was thick with pain borne silently and blood discretely covered in the folds of the blanket - absolute mystery amid the absolute ordinary.
They let me take a few photos and watch with awe. I happened to have a measuring tape in my purse (for the Good Health Promoters to start measuring upper arm circumferences and heights of children), and so when baby was cleaned up and carefully set next to his mother, he measured out to 20.5 inches. I didn't have a scale in my purse, but he is a very healthy size and has a head full of lush hair.
The Des girls arrived home from school in their green and yellow uniforms to greet their new brother...
...And I'd thought the morning had been eventful enough! I'd accompanied our Good Health Promotion team to St. Paul Elementary School in Torbeck (just outside Les Cayes) where we have two students. We were there to introduce the student body to the SODIS solar water purification method.
The administration was pretty dubious and slightly reluctant to take away from instructional time for this "method" we were promoting. As a teacher, I can appreciate the preciousness of school time. So the teams made it quick - no more than 10 minutes per class for a quick introduction to the concept.
When we got to Lourdi's 4th grade class, she volunteered to stand up and tell the class how to do the SODIS method. She explained it perfectly. Her sponsor would be so proud!
After going around with us to the classes and then talking more with the team afterward, the administration is now really on board! They asked the team to return this Thursday at 9am for a full demonstration with the bottles and metal sheet.
The team will continue to visit the 15 homes they currently check up on twice a week, and now will add St. Paul Elementary and their 150+ students to their routine. Justine Lherisson School also asked us to come speak with their students this Thursday, so maybe we will add another 100+ students to our list. Very exciting.
So many new and good things are being born here. Again, it is in great part thanks to the vision and dedication of our MPMHaiti sponsors. Person by Person - Moun Pou Moun - we partner for empowerment.