Today is...Saturday. I arived here in Hinche yesterday morning. Had to spend the moght in Port au Prince the night before that--luckily I have a wonderful contact there who kept me. Her name is Beth--she and her husband have been living in Port for over 20 years. She is becoming a midwife. They are running a makeshift hospital for the earthquake victims. The people are staying outside under tarps because they are afraid to stay inside any buildings. Lots of amputations and broken legs. People with these big metal braces sticking out from their legs. Well, now I'm here. A;ready getting acclimated. Meeting people, learning and practicing Creole. It's going well. This is a hard place. Everyone is very poor. I have so much compared to them and I'm only here for 6 months or so.
I am staying in the girls' house at this Catholic orphanage called Maison Fortunae. Run by this Haitian guy, with 2 American guys here helping him. They do alot of things here. The kids have school here; they give English classes to the community. This morning I helped with one. There is no electricity; only at nigh twith the generator. Anyway, at the girls' house, I am already making friends. This is how I am learning Creole. It's wonderful. I feel that in general the people here are more friendly than I was expecting.
The hospital...I am going to start shadowing one of the Haitian midwives on Monday. Will shadow them until I know how things go here. ALot to learn. I know that what I am going to see is going to be so hard to see, in some ways....I will have to figure out how to work within this system. There are also other American midwives constantly coming down, for 1-2 weeks. We'll see...but what I am seeing so far, there is such a vast cultural and language gap, even with a translator...these people are coming down on their own, to help, maybe their first time here....and then getting frusturated with what they wish they could change...and what can anyone accomplish in 1 week? And is it our place to try? I want to carve out my own path here, and establish a respectful relationship with the staff here. I want to help them how they need, and once I have a hang of things here, maybe I can practice more my style, and show the students how some midwives practice. How we can always have compassion, in any setting, even in crisis. Yesterday someone died at the hospital when we were there. She had erally high blood pressure and had seizures (eclampsia). Most of the people standing around didn't seem too surprised.
We also saw a group of people walking on the road, singing together, so beautifully, with one woman leading the song. There is still so much color and beauty here.
So...I understand that it will take time to be part of the comunity here, and to learn the language. I feel welcomed so far. I am trying not to think too much about everyone I miss in the US.
So...this is only the beginning.
Thank all of you for all of your support and prayers. I love all of you.