Haiti 2016 - Day 2
Day 2: Every day in Haiti is so full.
As a group we loaded up and went to Rivage Community Church and it was packed. Not an empty seat in the dirt floor shack they call church. The tarps had been damaged over the year so they had hung some colorful drapes for walls. On the wood support beams they had decorated them with toilet paper to celebrate our arrival. The kids were in their Sunday best. I love seeing the familiar faces year after year. The kids slowly come over and begin to climb on our laps. The kids sang us songs and the families welcomed us warmly.
Towards the end of the service we were asked to join Gampson and Oxanne back at their house for a community meeting to address the needs of the Rivage Community School. They will not be allowed to use their current space in 2017. They would like assistance in building a school building on the land in front of their house. The other land they own is on the other side of the river and if we were to build a school there it would service another community. What would happen to the 100+ children in Rivage? We discussed a strategy for them to determine their needs and discuss hiring an architect/engineer to see what could be done on the land in front of their house. They also wanted new tarps for the walls. I told them to price them out at the market and get the Haitian price, not the American price.
We returned to the house and Shelly, one of the interpreters arrived with her daughter Kimala. She just adopted her on Christmas Day after the baby's mother who was Shellys friend and neighbor died. Shelly has two biological sons and another adopted daughter that has an equally tragic story. She is a single mother with four children surviving on an interpreters salary of $300 US dollars a month.
Our group of 9 sat with Kelby for our Kreole lesson. It was good to review even basic greetings which is about all I remember. Makes me want to learn French every time I'm here so I have some foundation for Kreole. Next we loaded up for the hospital tour. Carrie the volunteer coordinator and Nadene, the founder of Midwives for Haiti gave a by thorough tour with lots of history intermixed as well as hospital politics. The last two years that I came to Haiti happened to be times when Nadene was not here and it is nice to be in her presence again. I feel like I have learned so much from her perseverance in Haiti.
After our 2pm meal, the big meal of the day, we were accompanied by Kelby, one of our interpreters and Sarah, a midwife from Oregon on a tour of Hinche. Sarah has spent a great deal of time in Haiti over the years and is a bit of a history buff and shared so much history with us. We walked through the market, visited the town square, the oldest Catholic Church in the Americas and even a cemetery.
Once we returned to the MFH house it was time to review our schedules for the week. This week there will be many needs with the students. A teacher will be out for a few days and two preceptors will be out this week. I am looking forward to working with the students, the future Midwives of Haiti that will change maternal mortality in Haiti.