I am staying in Jacmel at a maternity center called the Olive Tree Projects (OTP).
My room - High class living compared to Nepal but my bed is still rock hard. The other picture is of my front yard
Sarah is the person that started the centre in 2008. She is this amazing 26 year old that is a mid-wife and has been in Haiti since she around 19 years old. She comes from Devon, Alberta. She has started off small and getting herself established in the community and the centre has continued to grow. Her hope is to have a centre that trains local women to become midwifes and hopefully have them run their own centre. So far she has one woman who has just written her exam in the States and they are hoping she will lead the way. She is also involved with other local community projects as well as a partnership in a bottle depot. The bottle depot is really important here as people burn the plastic bottles which has to be the worse smell ever and also very toxic. I know I had my clothes hanging on the line and someone was burning bottles – my clothes just smelled awful.
Picture of Sarah and a little one
Sarah runs the centre she as well cares for 3 girls. My focus is on the 3 girls who all have issues. Girl one – 15 years old, both parents have died and she has a newborn, less then 2 weeks old that was born as a result of rape. I spend a lot of time with her and the baby. As a matter of fact as I write this I am holding the little one as I have become the second mom to this babe. I am working on her attaching and bonding to the baby. It is difficult but we have made progress – I spend the first few days trying to get her not to leave the baby in different places. The draw back to that is if she needs to do something she comes to me to look after the baby which is not a big deal as the baby is usually sleeping. She speaks pretty good English so she has become my interpreter. They speak French, Cajun and in some cases a mix of both. I am starting to use French a bit more but it has been a struggle.
The most beautiful baby in the whole world
The second girl is also 15 – her parents are dead as well. She had a baby but the baby died – I am not sure about what happened. She is your normal moody 15 year old girl - she has attitude. She does have a talent – cooking. She is the most amazing cook and can whip up meals in a very basic kitchen – and when I say basic I mean propane burners.
One of the 15 year olds and the 6 year old
The 3rd one is a 6 year old girl – and she is my challenge. At first she would have nothing to do with me however I kind of won her over for now. She had to do her laundry - I am back to bucket washing with cold water – I am becoming a pro at this. By the time we finished I was ready to put her in the bucket but I didn’t. So it was all good. Later in the day her mother and her two younger brothers came to do laundry which is another storyin itself. Things were going alright until the mother started yelling at her for no reason – she wanted her to kneel down for some reason – well she wouldn’t and the mother was ready to slap her across the face – she grabbed my leg and hid behind me which really got the mother even more out of control. Thank goodness another woman stepped in and basicly said that she may be the mother but she doesn’t care for the child – she pointed at me and I really don’t know what she said but I thought the mother was going to slap me but she didn’t. I just walked away with the girl. The next day first thing she comes to me with a whole bunch more “lavee” – oh what fun that was. We appear to be in a honeymoon phase which I think will change soon.
The other person that is here is Yvette – she is a midwife from the States. She is an experience midwife who has been to Haiti a number of times. She is a very good teacher and let’s others become involved if they are willing to learn. So the other night a baby was born very quickly – like within 20 minutes of arriving at the clinic. I saw the baby within a few hours of its birth – Yvette went through all the steps for a newborn physical exam. She also told me that they do not cut the umbilical cord but burn it off. So I was able to assist with that – I know this is not for everyone but I thought it was rather interesting and for sure a learning experience. Hopefully when the next baby is born I will be present for the birth. That is not for everyone either but I just think it is amazing !
Picture of Yvette with a little one
So that would be the current household – I should tell you there is a lot more people that come and go all day long. They are also part of the extended household that assist with various things or they just need a place to stay during the day in order to get fed. Lunch time the main meal of the day is very interesting and I am still confused about who is who. But I am sure I will learn their names at some point.
Children at the clinic
New born baby I helped with
So that is my new home !!