An entire community is waiting and watching… watching our progress in maternity care in a rural region of Haiti. Our founder, Jean Elade Eloi, writes to us from Haiti. He watched a community coming together, gathering and celebrating their newest addition!
For the last 12 months I’ve been hearing stories about pregnant women coming to give birth at our Zorangé clinic. The stories are always interesting and we have been blessed with great results. Usually the expecting mothers are carried by men on a makeshift stretcher, or sometimes on a motorcycle, and some of them have had the strength to just walk here. They’ve come as far as 10 miles to give birth here because they believe they can get basic medical attention at our clinic.
Last night (on August 18), it was just past eight in the evening and I was climbing the few remaining mountains to get to our place in Bigot, Zorangé. I noticed that the community was really still awake (yes 8pm is pretty late, given that the people are up by 4 or 5am every day) and there were more lights on than usual at our properties. The clinic seemed to be totally lit and I was just wondering silently why? Then, as I pulled into the dorm I looked over and started to count people at the clinic – more than 40 outside alone. They had just witnessed another expecting mom deliver a child.
Why is this so eventful? You have to be here and to live here to understand this phenomenon. The newest clinic is more than 5 miles away in Gandou and another one is 11 miles away in Bainet. Since we’ve had our first medical doctor here for only a little more than 12 months, our medical staff has helped catch babies just about every month.
The people come because they hear the commotion, they hear the screams of the moms in labor. Some of them are family members, some neighbors and friends who have helped to carry the mother to our clinic. And as they walk past houses along the way, the group picks up more and more people just in case they need help.
I parked the car and I ran into the clinic. A small generator is making noise in the background. Obed is providing security at the clinic because the people want to see what’s going on. I saw the new mom (19 years old) laying peacefully in bed and Dr. Edmond who had just traveled from Port au Prince the same day (coming from one of our nurses’s weddings – Myrlande) drenched in sweat and, of course, smiling. In the next room, the baby was being cleaned and dressed by one of the traditional birth attendants – yes, smiling.
This was my first experience seeing all the people that accompany the expecting mothers that come to our clinic believing that we can serve them and respect them. Awesome stuff and awesome people!
– Jean Elade Eloi